The Community Environment Network (CEN) has launched a new community action group called the Friends of Porters Creek Wetland with a mission to secure permanent protection for the region’s largest freshwater wetland.
“CEN has been campaigning for the permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland for many years but, right now, it feels further away than it ever has,” said the Network’s CEO, Mrs Sam Willis.
“This precious natural asset was so close to being covered by a Conservation Agreement under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust in 2020 but the Central Coast Council reneged just before signing off,” she said.
“Since then, we have witnessed more and more development in the Porters Creek catchment. The council also backed away from implementing stormwater harvesting measures that CEN believes were a condition of allowing more development in the catchment.
“Central Coast Council has not bothered keeping the community up to date about progress with the ‘nature based’ stormwater management measures it announced would be implemented several years ago.
“Meanwhile, with no transparency or community accountability, the Central Coast Council continues to prioritise a master plan for expansion of the airport at Warnervale ahead of protecting this region’s largest freshwater wetland.
“At the August council meeting, the Director of Planning and Environment, Dr Alice Howe said: ‘It is our intention to recommend reclassification to community land in due course however, we propose to do that once the airport master plan is developed later this year to ensure that the areas of conservation and general aviation are considered together’.
“CEN believes the wellbeing of the wetland and its long-term protection are vital to the future sustainability of this region.
“The Central Coast Council has never made public the results of its market sounding or Request for Information from the general aviation sector. This was advertised between January and March 2022.
“This council, under administration, continues to spend money on developing a master plan for the airport whilst never proving to the public that there is a sound business case for doing so.
“Meanwhile one of our most important natural assets, Porters Creek Wetland, continues to be undermined by over-development.”