Peat Island plan lacks vision

Seven years after the initial Planning Proposal was submitted by the former Gosford City Council and rejected by NSW Planning, the latest plan for Peat Island and associated land west of the M1 still lacks the vision and depth expected for an iconic site of regional, state and national significance.

Peat Island - the lack of vision in its future development planning as housing is nothing more than another Liberal Government mates deal; pandering to property developers to line their pockets at the expense of a community asset.

23 November 2021


THE Community Environment Network (CEN) has joined forces with the Dyarubbin Peat Island Association (DPIA) to ask the communities of the Hornsby Shire, the Lower Hawkesbury and the Central Coast to stand up for this precious piece of public property.


CEN Chair, Mr Gary Chestnut said: “We have until December 20 to convince Central Coast Council and the NSW Government that Peat Island and associated land west of the M1 deserve a better vision than medium-density housing and cafes in repurposed hospital buildings.


“The NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) and the Central Coast Council have had seven years to come up with a spectacular vision for what a revitalised Peat Island could become and the Planning Proposal now on exhibition until December 20 fails on many levels.”


Mr Chestnut said he believed environmental impacts were a good place to start in terms of identifying reasons why the Planning Proposal should be stringently opposed by Central Coast Council, key stakeholders and the broader community.


“This is bushfire prone land and particularly dangerous in a scenario where fire blocks the M1 and Old Pacific Highway, which is a regular occurrence in bushfire seasons. Consideration of the site for one- to three-storey medium density housing is, at best, reckless and short-sighted," he said.


“The intensity of the development being proposed would have substantial impacts on biodiversity if allowed to progress.


“We are told a land-based marina in the south-west of the site will be considered in a separate planning proposal but the potential ecological risks associated with a marina must be fully investigated as an integral part of the planning and rezoning of the whole site.


“The neighbouring Hornsby Council has submitted that the location proposed for the Marina ‘presents the highest marine impact risk from an ecological perspective and is likely to impact upon mangroves as well as the estuarine environment’.


“A detailed site investigation conducted in August referred to ‘sediment contamination’, underground storage tanks that would need to be removed, asbestos containing materials, buried asbestos and heavy metals.


“Hornsby Council detected elevated levels of copper and mercury near the site in 2013 and has raised this issue again in its latest submission. It has also called for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to look at the acid sulphate soils on the site and their potential impact on estuarine and aquatic habitats.


“Although located in the Central Coast Council Local Government Area, if the proposed rezoning goes ahead, future residents would be reliant on the Waste Water Treatment Plant in Brooklyn and it doesn’t even have the capacity to manage Mooney Mooney’s waste water needs.


“This would result in sewage discharges into the Hawkesbury River and it appears that DPIE and Central Coast Council have failed to consider the impacts of untreated outflows on the river’s aquaculture industries including nearby oyster farms and fisheries.”


The above are examples from an extensive list of environmental and social impacts that would flow on from the Planning Proposal which is on exhibition until December 20.


“We believe the cultural significance, the heritage, and the environmental significance of Peat Island and adjacent land west of the M1 are of substantial value to the communities of the Lower Hawkesbury, Hornsby Shire and Central Coast Local Government Area," Mr Chestnut said.


“That is why we will be asking all State and Federal politicians, the Central Coast Council Administrator, all interested community groups and individuals, to take the time to look at the current proposal and let

Central Coast Council and DPIE know it is not good enough.


“We are talking about the future of a renowned landmark that deserves preservation, care and ongoing public access. It seems the NSW Government and Central Coast Council cannot see beyond the short-term profits from yet another land selloff and housing development.


“Peat Island, gateway to the Central Coast and gem of the Lower Hawkesbury, deserves a better vision so #forpeatsake go to before December 20 and tell Central Coast Council and DPIE why you want to keep Peat Island in public hands and create a richer vision for its future.”

Grapevine News Online

Central Coast NSW

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