Proposed new development angers Red Zone residents

Families of the Red Zone, neighbours adjacent to the development currently under scrutiny with Port Stephens Council.
Families of the Red Zone, neighbours adjacent to the development currently under scrutiny with Port Stephens Council.


THE residents of Cabbage Tree Road are fighting yet another battle.

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If the contamination of PFAS chemicals was not enough to deal with already, now a proposed development has the potential to make a difficult situation even harder according to local residents.

The development set to be located at 52, 52a and 40 Cabbage Tree Road at Williamtown requires swampland within the PFAS Red Zone to be filled in order for it to proceed.

Residents told News Of The Area that this fill, as well as the significant disturbance of contaminated soil, appears to be a contradiction to the EPA’s recommendations for residents within the “Williamtown Contamination Management Area” listed on their website.

The recommendations, created to minimise residents exposure to PFAS chemicals originating from the RAAF Base Williamtown, state that residents “do not do anything with groundwater, bore water or surface water (including in creeks and drains) that might lead to incidental ingestion (swallowing).”

Residents say that the filling of the already contaminated area, which includes significant swamp land and wet areas, may result in the displacement of the water presently found there.

This displacement could well result in an increase in contaminated water levels on properties located within the Williamtown Red Zone.

Cabbage Tree Road resident Linden Drysdale spoke to News Of The Area at her property, along with her immediate adjacent neighbours who are also set to be affected by this proposed infill.

She said, “This whole area is high hazard (flood storage), so if you fill one property, the water from the swamp moves to the adjoining properties.”

The development application is just the latest setback for the Red Zone residents who are seemingly caught in a nightmare there is no waking up from.

Linden said, “This man has no intention of living here and doesn’t seem to care about the people who call this place home, we are just the people unable to leave the contamination.”

“Because of the contamination, our paradise lost now sits between the Defence Force and a developer, and this is just another issue on top of a massive pile,” she added.

Port Stephens Council are yet to approve the development application, with Council meeting minutes stating that the development application is recommended for refusal.


By Rachael VAUGHAN

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