Greens Councillor Hillary Morris will move that Gosford City Council, at its meeting on July 8, requests the State Government to finalize the incorporation of the remaining private properties at Bambara near Kariong, into the Brisbane Water National Park by commencing compulsory acquisition proceedings.
Concurrently, in the NSW Parliament, MLC Mehreen Faruqi, Greens’ spokesperson on the environment, has also posed questions to the Government concerning the acquisition of the properties into the BWNP.
Bambara is an area of unique environmental and heritage value being home to at least 12 threatened Species and a large number of sensitive and important Aboriginal cultural sites.
In her background to the acquisition motion, Councillor Morris says “After decades of attempts, and over 2 years since the voluntary acquisition offers were first made, this Council and the State Government should bring the process to an end before the next State election. The community has always been concerned that as time passes, opportunities for the final acquisition of the Bambara properties and their inclusion into the National Park will slip away, regardless of the declared intentions of the State Government and Council.”
“When the Greens campaigned for Council in 2012, we ran on a platform that supported voluntary acquisition of the Bambara properties, but if that failed, to call on the State Government to acquire the land for the National Park. This motion fulfils that campaign pledge” says Central Coast Greens spokesperson Kate da Costa.
The Greens’ Notice of Motion reaffirms Council’s commitment to provide funding for up to half the Valuer-General’s valuation of the lots when the voluntary acquisition offer was made in 2012. Council has done everything in its power to reach an agreement, but some owners have not finalized the voluntary process. Since the aim is to merge the properties into a national park, which is a State Government responsibility, the most logical next step is for the Minister for the Environment to move to compulsory acquisition.
Questions to the NSW government put by Dr. Faruqi (set out below) enquire into the status of the current acquisition process and the timeline for completion.
In recent years several properties have been acquired through voluntary acquisition in a cost sharing arrangement between Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, however the voluntary process has failed to bring all of the properties into public ownership.
Over 30 years ago, in 1983, the National Parks and Wildlife Service moved to acquire the land in question for inclusion in BWNP but because of financial constraints was unable to go ahead.
In the following 15 years a rezoning proposal to develop the land was rejected and the inclusion of the land into the BWNP continued to be supported by the National Parks Association. In 1998 the Council again made representations to the NPWS and the State Government to have the land in question purchased for inclusion in the BWNP.
According to Council documents the properties currently outstanding in the acquisition process were purchased in 1999.
In 2001 the land was rezoned to reduce the range of activities that could be carried out on it and in 2010 the Land and Environment court rejected a development application for a dwelling on the grounds of environmental damage that would be caused by the necessary bushfire protection
Shortly afterwards Gosford City Council and the NPWS entered into a cost sharing arrangement to acquire the properties through voluntary acquisition.
5873—Environment—BRISBANE WATERS NATIONAL PARK
Dr Faruqi to the Minister for Fair Trading representing the Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage, Minister for the Central Coast, and Assistant Minister for Planning—
1. What is the status of acquisition of the following properties at Bambara Road, Kariong for inclusion in the Brisbane Waters National Park:
1. Lot 229 to the east of Bambara Road Kariong
2. Lot 247 to the south of Bambara Road Kariong
3. Lot 251 to the south of Bambara Road Kariong
4. Lot 2502 to the south of Bambara Road Kariong
2. What is the timeline for the completion of acquisition of the above four properties for inclusion in the Brisbane Waters National Park?
Question asked on 19 June 2014 (session 55-1) and printed in Questions & Answers Paper No. 206.
No answer has been printed.
Clr Hillary Morris 0427 717 028 firstname.lastname@example.org
MLC Dr Mehreen Faruqi 9230 2625 Mehreen.Faruqi@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Kate da Costa
Convenor, Water/Energy/Environment Working Group, Central Coast Greens