NEWS THAT MATTERS
Stop work order extended
A stop work for order on sensitive environmental land at Doyalson has been extended for another 40 days to stop any further alleged unauthorised clearing of land.
The site of the alleged unauthorised land clearing at Thompson Vale Road, Doyalson.
22 November 2022
THE Community Environment Network (CEN) can confirm that the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has extended by 40 days its Stop Work Order halting any removal of native vegetation or ground disturbance on land at Thompson Vale Road, Doyalson.
The latest correspondence received from DPE by CEN confirmed that the Department received an Environment Line report in September, alleging that unauthorised clearing on the property had impacted threatened species.
At that time the DPE issued a Stop Work Order under Section 11.3 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, and it has subsequently extended that Order for a further 40 days.
“The Department has informed CEN that it is currently investigating the allegations of unauthorised clearing and impact to threatened species,” said CEN Chair, Mr Gary Chestnut.
“As the investigation is ongoing, CEN understands that DPE cannot provide specific information about the matter.
“However, according to the Department’s Compliance Policy and Prosecution Guidelines the Stop Work Order is only two steps below the option to commence a criminal prosecution.
“A Stop Work Order is a higher level of action than a penalty infringement notice or an interim protection order, due to the severity of the risk to threatened species,” Mr Chestnut said.
“CEN believes the Department must consider community expectations in this situation. We remind DPE that the land was purchased by the former Wyong Shire Council for both its employment and environmental value.
“Any party exercising minimal due diligence would realise this land has substantial environmental value, which is why CEN argued it should not have been sold by Central Coast Council as part of the 2021 asset fire sale.
“Central Coast Council Administrator, Rik Hart, has publicly confirmed, after hearing about the alleged land clearing, that part of the land is zoned C2 Environmental Conservation which is the highest level of environmental protection on private land.
“In a recent radio interview Mr Hart said he expected DPE to fully apply the law as the alleged clearing of native vegetation on the site was ‘abhorrent’.
“CEN believes this land should be repurchased by Central Coast Council, classified as community land and added to the Coastal Open Space System.
“We repeat, this land includes the Spring Creek Wetland, which is of substantial importance to the water quality of the Tuggerah Lakes System, and forms part of a critical wildlife corridor through the north of the Central Coast LGA.
“It is an asset that should not be cleared or developed. Mr Hart should reconsider the decision to sell the land. It needs to be returned to the community.”
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