Proposed development on flood plain at Anna Bay

The proposed site flooded in 2021.

LOCAL residents are seeing red over a proposal for a 47-lot subdivision at 263 Gan Gan Road, Anna Bay, with concerns raised that the land is prone to flooding.

Environmental impacts, flooding and drainage, and service constraints were key issues raised by members of the Future of Anna Bay (FAB) group at a recent meeting with Port Stephens councillors regarding the proposed development.

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Deputy Mayor Leah Anderson and Councillor Jason Wells heard residents’ concerns that the development’s artificial elevation of up to four metres would move flood and drainage problems elsewhere.

Local resident Kelly Hammond told News Of The Area, “All Port Stephens Council councillors were contacted about the proposal.

“It’s disappointing that some didn’t respond, but it’s really heartening that Deputy Mayor Leah Anderson and councillor Jason Wells were prepared to give up their time after work to meet in person.

“We’ve had three significant rain events in the past 30 years and two in the past ten years,” Kelly Hammond said, “so flooding and drainage were high on the agenda.”

Concerned residents described how these events severely impacted the proposed site, and neighbouring properties, stressing the vital link Gan Gan Road provides to surrounding communities.

“People’s homes flooded,” Ms Hammond said.

“There were SES rescues.

“Water pump systems from the basin were required for weeks.

“We’re troubled that vulnerable neighbouring residents weren’t consulted by the developer when they prepared their Environmental Impact Study.

“Residents who’ve been here for decades have lived experience of the flood and drainage issues due to the area’s unique sand on coffee rock topography.

“The water has to go somewhere.

“Artificially elevating the site will affect surrounding properties.”

Residents also raised concerns about the visual impact of the development.

Given the ongoing issues with the ‘Anna Bay eyesore’, local residents feel that development is coming above the need to protect the amenity of the area.

“There’s no space for an adequate setback and replanting because two rows of housing and internal roads have to be squeezed into the area in front of the protected ridgeline.

“It’s completely out of character with surrounding large-lot residential and rural properties,” Ms Hammond said.

Residents are also concerned the development could impact the area’s sensitive biodiversity.

Carmel Northwood from Koala Koalition EcoNetwork Port Stephens spoke about potential impacts to threatened species including the Powerful Owl and the local koala population at the meeting.

“The ridgeline is an ancient sand dune that is a culturally significant landform for the Worimi people’s Maiangal.

“It should be protected,” Mrs Northwood said.

Ms Hammond argued the proposal would further limit koala movement between core habitats on the northern side of the ridgeline from those in the Tomaree National Park between Fishermans Bay, Boat Harbour and One Mile.

Pressure on housing was also discussed, with residents stressing the importance of balancing the pressure on local councils to meet housing targets with long-term social and environmental planning.

“We are parents and grandparents wanting the best for future generations,” Ms Hammond said.

“We need housing, but we also need meaningful recreation areas, access to services, and respect for our environment.

“Many of us moved here because of the beautiful surrounds.

“We don’t want our kids playing in a water retention basin or only being able to see a koala in captivity,” she said.
“Many services are already at capacity.

“As it is, it’s hard to get in to the local doctor and public transport is limited.

“We know that Port Stephens Council is formulating Place Plans, and that there are other priority areas in Port Stephens, which we accept,” she said.

“The group is looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to a revised Strategic Plan for Anna Bay and surrounds.”

The applicant for the proposed development has lodged a ‘deemed refusal’ claim with the Land and Environment Court.


Members of Future of Anna Bay meeting with Port Stephens Deputy Mayor Leah Anderson and Councillor Jason Wells.

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