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Good news, Lake Wollumboola protected

November 27, 2015

Strict conditions for Halloran Planning Proposal for Culburra Beach, Currarong and Callala Bay.

From Frances Bray comes good news:

The Department of Planning and Environment has approved the Halloran Planning Proposal for Culburra Beach, Currarong (Kinghorn Point area) and Callala, with very strict conditions that significantly change what the Halloran Trust proposed and what SCC recommended in 2014.

Frances Bray is hopeful that this decision will finally result in Lake Wollumboola being protected by Environment zoning of significant parts of its catchment including for National Park, with the Crookhaven river/estuary protected by buffer zones to any development, to preserve water quality and protect fisheries and aquaculture.

Aboriginal cultural heritage sites and landscapes will also be protected.

The original proposal included dedicating lands in the Lake catchment for Jervis Bay National Park. However this offer, whilst welcome did not include Long Bow Point, the highest value site in protecting lake water quality and providing habitat for numerous threatened species. Instead the proposal was for Long Bow Point to be zoned for private recreation to allow for a golf course. Moreover insufficient area was proposed as an offset for the land proposed for development.

The decision is based on expert studies and advice confirming the high environmental values and sensitivity of the Lake in particular but also the Crookhaven as well as the Aboriginal cultural significance of the area.

Council staff together with the Department and Office of Environment and Heritage now have 2 years to undertake a series of environmental, social and economic studies and public consultation before a final decision is made by the Minister for Planning or his delegate.

The most significant parts of the decision are that;

  • “Council is to zone Long Bow Point (ie the NW peninsula jutting into the Lake) for environment protection due to the recognised high environmental sensitivity of Lake Wollumboola dependent on the outcomes of a biodiversity offset strategy.” This could result in this critical part of the catchment being included in Jervis Bay National Park.
  • “Land within the surface and ground water catchment of the Lake (north of Culburra Rd) should also be zoned for environment protection, unless the water quality strategy identifies that an alternate zoning can achieve a neutral or beneficial effect on the Lake.” The boundary between the Lake and Crookhaven water catchments will be established by a special study. It is highly unlikely that so-called water sensitive urban design could prevent urban run off, particularly ground water, polluting the Lake.
  • some residential development expansion for Culburra Beach is provided for but the scale and location will be dependent on the outcome of environment, Aboriginal cultural and social and economic studies.
  • suitable alternative sites for the proposed golf course are to be considered outside the Lake catchment.

Congratulations to Frances Bray and the other conservationist who have worked tirelessly and at times courageously to achieve this outcome. The battle is not yet over but we should look forward without further delay he listing of Lake Wollumboola as a wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.

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