Community outraged over Salamander Bay land clearing

The site of the clearing at Fleet Street, Salamander Bay.

MEMBERS of the community remain outraged over the permitted removal of koala habitat adjacent to a proposed aged care development on Fleet Street at Salamander Bay, with land clearing resuming at the site on January 15.

The Development Application (DA) was approved by Port Stephens Council under the tenure of current Mayor Ryan Palmer in 2018.

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While many believe the original approval should not have been granted on such an environmentally sensitive site, Council can’t amend the approval while the developer is acting within the conditions of the granted DA.

“There is nothing the current Councillors such as myself can do on a Development Application (DA) approved in a previous Council term, other than make sure that Council closely monitors to ensure the approval conditions are being met,” Deputy Mayor Leah Anderson said.

“I was alerted by concerned community members when the works commenced on the clearing for the Asset Protection Zone (APZ) at 8 Fleet Street, Salamander Bay.

“I immediately contacted the General Manager to request that Council closely monitor the works to ensure it fully complied with the Notice of Determination from when this DA was approved back in 2018.

“Port Stephens Council staff visited the site and requested an immediate stop work to enable them to review all of the environmental controls.

“As soon as Council were satisfied that the controls as per the approval were being met, they allowed the works to recommence on Monday 15 January.

“I specifically made it very clear that I wanted Council staff to regularly visit the site whilst the works were being undertaken to make sure that an ecologist was on-site and that works progressed within the approval.

“Council has been monitoring this clearing closely and keeping me informed.”

According to Ms Anderson, an ecologist sighted a koala near the site on 15 January, with works coming to an immediate stop.

“Council was notified and were on site the following day to ensure the koala was no longer in the vicinity before the clearing recommenced,” Ms Anderson said.

Brock Lamont, Acting Director – Community Futures at Port Stephens Council said, “Council cannot amend or modify an approval once granted.

”Any amendments to an approval can only be undertaken through an application from the landowner, not at Council’s direction.”


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