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The Community Environment Network (CEN) and the Central Coast Community Better Planning Group have made a joint submission objecting to a development application in Springfield based on shared concerns about habitat loss across the Central Coast.

CEN has been contacted by Springfield residents who share our concerns about the ongoing loss of habitat, particularly close to important wildlife corridors.

Treatment of IDO122 land

This land is subject to Interim Development Order 122 and is zoned as 7(a) Conservation and Scenic Protection. The Community Environment Network has actively sought for Central Coast Council to uniformly rezone all IDO122 properties to the C2 zone, However, we are aware that Council has chosen to review all deferred matter lands and we acknowledge that a dwelling is permitted on this particular site with consent.

Proposed earthworks

We are concerned that the proponent is seeking earthworks and, although we understand that they argue the work will not impact the surrounding landscape, we urge Council to make provisions via conditions of consent to ensure the earthworks do not impact the surrounding environment, particularly nearby water courses.

Loss of 18 trees

Our most pressing concern in relation to this proposal is the potential loss of 18 trees, one of which (Tree 2 in Arborist report), according to nearby residents, is known to be the existing habitat of a Powerful Owl.

This tree has a SUILE rating of 40+ years and CEN/CCCNBPG believe the DA plans should be amended to, at the very least, retain this tree.

A total of 13 trees earmarked for removed have either long or medium-to-long SUILE ratings. These are established trees and that means they are more likely to provide important habitat for native species than those with short SUILE ratings.

We urge Central Coast Council to request the proponent to revisit the need for the removal of these trees before consent is granted for this development.

According to this map from the Arborist’s report: T2, T3, T4 and T6 are being removed not to accommodate the dwelling but to make way for vehicular access to a free-standing garage. We therefore believe their removal is not essential to the building of the residence and that the proponent should be requested by Council to reconsider the location of the driveway and free-standing garage in order to preserve these four trees.

We respectfully request that in the absence of elected Councillors who may have been contacted by the residents who informed CEN and CCCBPG about this DA, that Council staff do their own inspection of this site to verify the Arborist’s report which indicates that T3 and T4 are dead.

We bring your attention to the following note in the Arborist’s report and request that Central Coast Council consults, and publishes the outcome of that consultation, with Local Land Service in relation to any additional requirements to be met for tree removal given the zoning of this site: “Given the identified land zoning, further approval may be also be required to be obtained from NSW Government Local Land Services, Greater Sydney Region for the removal of vegetation which is prescribed under Part 5A of the Local Land Services Act 2013.”

Overall ecological impacts

CEN and CCCBPG are concerned by the overall ecological impact of this proposed development, including the loss of 18 trees but also, as per the ecological assessment submitted by the proponent’s consultant that: “The development will require removal of 0.38ha of native vegetation including the removal of eighteen (18) trees to the south of the property. All eighteen (18) of these trees are native (Eucalyptus saligna, Alphitonia excelsa and Syncarpia glomulifera). The development will remove a small area of Blackbutt/ Turpentine/ Sydney Blue Gum mesic tall open forest on ranges of the Central Coast.”

The habitat assessment found: “Two Kookaburra’s (Dacelo novaeguineae) were spotted foraging on the site. Two Australian King Parrots (Alisterus scapularis) were spotted in the northern section of the lot”.

Database searches found that: “A number of threatened species and TECs have been recorded on the Atlas of NSW Wildlife database and EPBC Act Protected Matters Search Tool, within a 10 km radius of the site.” The ecological assessment also included a “Moderate” rating of the likelihood of this site being habitat for both the Barking Owl and the Powerful Owl, the Masked Owl and the Sooty Owl.

Given the fact that Tree 2 in Arborist report, according to nearby residents, is known to be the existing habitat of a Powerful Owl it is essential that Council require the applicant to engage a suitable qualified expert to inspect and assess this habitat tree in accordance with the relevant provisions under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The ecological assessment assumed the presence of habitat for the Eastern False Pipistrelle, Eastern Coastal Freetail-Bat, Little Bent-winged Bat, Large Bent-winged Bat and Greater Broad-nosed Bat. It assumed a very high likelihood of the presence of habitat for the Grey-headed Flying Fox.

According to the ecological assessment submitted in support of this application: “The vegetation within the site connects large areas of bushland together. However, the development footprint will not sever, fragment or isolate any areas of habitat or impact on the function of this corridor. Much of the development footprint is for a proposed APZ, which will still support trees. As such it is considered that the proposal would not inhibit fauna from traversing the development area. The removal of 0.38ha of Blackbutt/ Turpentine/ Sydney Blue Gum mesic tall open forest on ranges of the Central Coast is not considered to be significant, especially considering that this vegetation community is well represented in the surrounding area.”

However, it acknowledges that the site is on the outer edges of the Rumbalara Coastal Open Space System reserve and raises concerns about issues including weed incursion. We therefore encourage Central Coast Council to look closely at this proposal in an effort to further minimise the amount of clearing required and find ways to retain more mature trees.

Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

FM Building, Central Coast Campus,
University of Newcastle,
Loop Road, Ourimbah,
NSW, 2258


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