Please help us save the last remaining pristine estuary on the Far North Coast of NSW. This magnificiant area is threatened with a large housing development right on its banks.
Currently a tiny seaside village located halfway between Byron Bay and Coolangatta, and overseen by the infamous Tweed Council; Hastings Point is filled with retirees and beach shacks and this development aims to turn this piece of paradise into suburbia.
The community have been fighting for 30 years to save this village and environment. WE NEED URGENT HELP as this is our last ditch stand.
The key issue is that the village is built on a floodplain right where an estuary with a huge catchment area feeds into the ocean. Existing housing will be caught between the proposed development and the ocean leaving nowhere for stormwater to escape and no accommodation for sealevel rise which is impacting beaches here right now.
Read more of the proposed development, the history of Lot 156 and see some of the flooding that has occurred in the last few years: Hastings Point – Lot 156
The developers claim:
- It’s ok to put a road in the riparian zone along the banks of the estuary
- They should be exempt from adhering to 50m riparian zones around the estuary
- Filling a 10ha area to 3.9metres will not impact the flow of water into adjoining properties, which are at ground level
- Stormwater runoff is not an issue as it will “disperse naturally” regardless of whether the ground is supersaturated and the tide is incoming.
The project is currently on exhibition, and submissions to Planning NSW are due by c.o.b. Monday 5 September 2011. If you can help us protect this fantastic place from one person’s greed, please click on the link to provide a submission: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=4886
In your submission, please include something along the lines of:
Submission for LOT 156, Creek St – 06_0153 – PPR
The Hastings Point DCP has been put in place to protect the interests of all current and future residents of Hastings Point. This flawed proposal LOT 156, Creek St – 06_0153 – PPR fails to comply and puts at serious risk the environment, estuary, groundwater; as well as the safety, property and commercial interests of every existing resident and owner in Creek Street.
It is unconscionable that one developers return should be allowed to override the rights of every other owner in Creek Street when there is a reasonable alternative which would enable this developer a reasonable return while minimising the risk to everyone else.
I object to the referenced proposal and fully support the submissions of the Hastings Point Progress Association and community experts.
Thank you for your help, not only from those of us from this generation, but generations yet to come. The link again for submissions is: http://majorprojects.planning.nsw.gov.au/index.pl?action=view_job&job_id=4886
Hastings Point Progress Association Submission
Director, Metropolitan & Regional Projects North
Department of Planning & Infrastructure
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001
Submission for LOT 156, Creek St – 06_0153 – PPR
The Hastings Point DCP has been put in place to protect the interests of all current and future residents of Hastings Point. This flawed proposal LOT 156, Creek St – 06_0153 – PPR fails to comply and puts at serious risk the environment, estuary, groundwater; as well as the safety, property and commercial interests of every existing resident and owner in Creek Street. It is unconscionable that one developers return should be allowed to override the rights of every other owner in Creek Street when there is a reasonable alternative which would enable this developer a reasonable return while minimising the risk to everyone else.
I object to the referenced proposal for the following reasons:
- The Hastings Point DCP provides for restoration of riparian land for protection of the environment, natural habitat and flood hazard. The proposal ignores this in most places.
- The restoration requirement applies on & around the proposed development site where vegetation was illegally removed and landform changed, including filling the estuary.
- The proponent has overlaid riparian buffer zones with a midge zone These are two completely separate issues with different vegetation requirements and are in total conflict. They must be kept separate entities.
- The proposal does not include vegetated buffers from wetland communities & EECs.
- Vegetated buffers of 50-100 m should be imposed after reestablishing the estuary and EEC communities in the restored riparian zones as provided by HPDCP.
- Any midge buffer should follow the vegetated buffer before the development.
- The developer’s vegetation mapping of Lot 156 is wrong as are its flaura and fauna reports which should be assessed by experts experienced with this site.
- Lot 156 sits in a wildlife corridor with endangered species that visit and breed in the area including the bush and beach stone curlews, jabirus and others. The extent of the development proposed in this area will destroy this habitat.
- The flood access road with cycle path proposed will adversely affect the environment and wildlife which inhabits this area. The volume of human traffic using this area and the construction of such a road requires an environmental impact statement as it destroys the safety and amenity of adjacent residents. It is contrary to its 7A protection zoning. It should be restored as provided in HPDC
- Foreshore access points which exist & do not destroy buffer should be retained/returned.
- There is no open public space and a park should be included as per HPDC.
Groundwater & Saltmarsh
- Groundwater is a dynamic resource around an estuary and cannot be measured with a single ‘snapshot.’ The level of groundwater in Hastings Point varies on a daily basis and as such the estuary and aquifers both require the largest saltmarsh zones to retain health.
- The saltmarsh is also a dynamic resource and cannot be confined to a ‘zone. Saltmarsh is mown weekly by the developers in order to claim a ‘grassed area’ however inspection of the site show clearly immature saltmarsh species attempting to regenerate. The speed of regeneration of this area, when this is allowed to occur, is seen clearly in the Part 7A zone which has only regrown in the past 4 years.
- It was understood at the inspection meeting on November 2010 DoP planner Marek Holin advised that the developers had been ordered to stop mowing in specified areas. This has not occurred.
This community has fought since 1980 to preserve the amenity of this area and a DCP exists for the area. This must be adhered to. Lot 156 Creek St is an integral component of this DCP.
Use of an area flood plan is inappropriate and dangerous. A localised flood study must be completed.
The developer’s flood models are flawed and must be investigated. Lot 156 was completely under water in 2005 flood – knee deep – as was half of North Star Caravan Park and Creek Street. They go under water with heavy rain events. Reports & models to the contrary are false & and do not depict even the current flood hazard state of the local area. The catchments to north of North Star flow north to south through the park – mapping that shows it flows east to west is false.
Stormwater drains located in 2 Creek St routinely fills to capacity in heavy storms (eg this week) and on an incoming king (or often high) tide there is simply nowhere for stormwater to escape.
It is inappropriate to fill the only flood plain available to drain the surrounding catchments. It exists for a purpose.
Storm water and drainage solutions are inadequate and adjoining properties including my own will be adversely affected.
There is no satisfactory solution for the redirection of water flow. The change in water levels/flows will damage critical habitat and wetland ecosystems
A restored estuary will improve flow to reduce flood hazard and improve water quality.
Sea Level Rise
No accommodation has been made for any level of sea-level rise in this proposal. Given the recent, serious ingress of sea to Kingscliff Beach necessitating seawall development, Pottsville Beach necessitating seawall development and severe erosion of Hastings Point Beach, combined with experience by local residents of seawater filling stormwater drains in Hastings Point on a regular basis, it is a reasonable assumption that if this development was to proceed, a major seawall construction would be required to be funded (by ratepayers or State Govt) in the near future. This is an unreasonable impost.
The level of fill proposed for the development and the emergency access road will increase flood hazard to an unacceptable level.
There are significant inconsistencies from the proponent. E.g. They claim that the maximum fill height is 3.4 m whereas their own engineers cross sections of the site show 3.9m approx. The Visual Height impact Assessment uses a max floor height of 3.1m.
Any level of fill is inappropriate for this property. Any proposed development must be required to use stump housing rather than fill to enable uninhibited flow of water during major storm events.
This developer has a seriously flawed record with the use of fill. The type of fill proposed for Lot 156 is Class M (see engineering impact stt). This would not allow sufficient absorption of stormwater. Given that the developer claims to have his own source of fill it is reasonable to presume this is the same fill as used on 4-6 Creek St (also owned by these developers). With 4 and 6 Creek St these developers went to considerable lengths to justify the development on the grounds that absorption of water into the storm water table, and retention of existing trees on site only to fill the site with clay based fill and remove most existing trees.
These developers have been required by Council to remove such fill from 4-6 Creek St, but have again failed to comply.
Proposed upgrade of Creek St does nothing to improve safety of residents and in fact makes it more hazardous:
- Increase in traffic volume, which will far exceed 100% will create excessive noise and endanger the number of young children in the street who currently play together on the verges.
- There is no curb barrier in Creek St. This is not wanted by residents but this is a safety issue.
- No traffic calming means that Creek St will become more of a speed hazard. This has already become a significant issue for local residents since development commenced at Lot 156.
- Inappropriate footpaths proposed for the elderly and disabled (blind) residents of the street. ‘Meandering paths’ are totally inappropriate for guide dog usage.
- The proposed access road requires a number of assumptions each of which provides significant risk to the environment and other owners in Creek Street
- The traffic noise will impact severely and adversely, the commercial returns for owners of holiday properties at 2 Creek St. These owners invested in good faith and are entitled to the quiet enjoyment of their properties.
- Access necessitates severe impact on the riparian zone which should be restored under the Hastings Point DCP and not further damaged. This road has not only been rejected by Council because it is contrary to the primary objective of the 7A Environmental Protection zone (a slim buffer which sits adjacent to wetland and EECs), but can now be rejected on the basis that it is inconsistent with one of the main strategies and desired future character objectives of HPDC; namely, “The natural environment along the foreshore of Christies Creek is to be protected and restored where clearing and changes to the landform have occurred”.
Impact on Commercial & Private Investment
- This development will place our lives and properties at risk.
- This will decrease the value of our properties and increase the cost of insurance.
- Emergency access roads do not exist for North Star Resort and increased flood hazard will trap us in flood times.
- I fear for my safety, life and ability to access safe refuge.
Tweed Coast Road Ingress & Egress
Proposed changes to the intersection of Coast Rd and Creek St will have a significant impact on the properties on that intersection. The impact on the investment and commercial returns of owners of rental and holiday accommodation will be particularly impacted and will require compensation.
Functioning of the sewerage pumping station in Creek Street has been of ongoing concern to residents in the area over the past decade. Any increase in volume through the station is of concern.
Developer Track Record
This developer should not be allowed to profit from accumulated misdeeds perpetuated by both themselves and the previous owner. Failure by successive agencies to enforce the restitution of Christies Creek estuary has resulted in an inappropriate zoning being attributed to this site.
The current owner purchased the site in the full knowledge that it was highly constrained yet has continued to degrade the land, the estuary and the community in his own commercial interests to the detriment of every other owner.
Hastings Point already has an example of a failed development at ‘The Point’ where current residents clearly warned of the project’s failure.
The environment and amenity of Hastings Point is enjoyed by thousands of students, visitors and locals. The safety of existing residents and visitors must not be compromised, and the proposal that one developer’s yield should be paramount over the commercial viability of an existing development in the street, and private investment which has been classified as ‘waterfront’ for rates purposes for decades, is unconscionable.
Ecological & Zoning
- The proposal is an overdevelopment of the site which fails to deal adequately with the constraints of the site such as incorporating sufficient buffers to estuary and wetland/riparian zones. (HPDC sets out clearly the heavy constraints of the site – “development is problematic”)
- Irrespective of a 1980’s zoning of residential, the proposal must be assessed against current law and policy which provide for and deal with the relevant constraints.
- The riparian zones must be “restored”, “re-established” (HPDC) – restored means returned to their original state i.e. with either estuary or EEC riparian communities which will enhance and protect the immediate riparian zone and the estuary. HPDC is very strong on this point. It does not limit itself to simply vegetate i.e. with anything.
- From these restored areas, vegetated buffers of 50-100 m must be imposed from which further midge buffers should be designed (HPDC, TCEMP, Tweed DCPA5, CDG etc – refer law in my original submissions, TSC and Aus Wetland Subs)
- Justifications for the proposed buffers areas are no different than those detailed at length by Australian Wetlands and TSC’s original submissions to the EA of the concept plan.
- The proposed Emergency Access Road is contrary to the objectives of 7A zoned land and the law and policy which applies re restoration and buffers as noted in 3, 4 and 5 above. The road is not restricted to the current lawn only and is proposed over estuary, mangrove and saltmarsh. (MHWM has not been adequately proven by proponent)
- Given this, Council’s consent should be refused for filling and building a bridged road in the road reserve owned by it which joins the sewerage pump station with Lot 156 and is necessary to access LOT 156 land where the proponent’s emergency access road is proposed. It would be reasonable to refuse consent given Council’s strong objection to this road in this 7A zone. The bridged road would also require removal of trees on the edge of the road reserve which presence are protected in the Locality Plan – view lines.
- Proper application of law and policy re 3, 4 & 5 in respect of restoration and buffers, means that the majority of the middle of the development site and the north western part should not be supported by TSC.
- Removal of an emergency access road because of environmental constraints would also mean that any development on Lot 156 would necessarily require a waiver of the application of the emergency access road requirement under the Flood Liable Land DCP.
- Such waiver and departure from the Flood Liable Land DCP could only be condoned for a small no. of houses – so it is a matter of no development or a small development which shows respect for the flood liable lands policy and the significant environmental law and policy outlined in 3, 4 & 5 above.
- There are serious questions regarding the regional flood modelling of BMT WBM given that it incorrectly depicts areas dry on Lot 156 and various parts of the Northern Precinct which were under ½ m of water in the 2005 flood and seriously inundated in heavy rain events.
- There are serious questions regarding the drainage model of OPUS given that it incorrectly depicts the flow paths of water for the northern catchment and North Star precinct.
- On the basis of these flawed models, the community does not accept that there will be no increase in flood hazard to them. These inaccuracies are serious. OPUS was corrected by Danny Rose on the flow directions but it continues to misrepresent them.
- Given the true directional flows of water in the Northern Precinct, fill in Creek St is a serious issue and the consent authority requiring fill for existing houses or a small no. of additional houses should be reconsidered. Raised houses can provide sufficient flood immunity and at the same time reduce storm water and flooding impacts on other residents. It would improve permeability of water and protect the integrity of the ground water for the local environment.
Flora and Fauna
- The failure to incorporate appropriate buffers from the development and the changes in hydrology through filling the site will have a significant impact on local fauna and flora.
- There are significant endangered species and migrating birds in the area that require specific riparian zoned areas which contain EEC communities which are vital for their survival. Rhonda James, Dave Milledge and other experts will be addressing these issues. I have just received more contact from bird advocates who visit Hastings Point who can list regular sightings of various protected migrating species and again, regular sightings of the beach stone curlew on the south eastern parts of Lot 156. They will be corresponding with Rhonda James this week and I will have Rhonda contact Sandy Pimms to provide this additional evidence.
- Significant Impact assessment (EPBC Act and Threatened Species Act) is crucial given the number of migratory and endangered birds that use this corridor and edges of Lot 156 as habitat.
Views & Amenity
- The view lines will be breached under the locality plan and the suggestion that the dwellings will fall within the midlayer box which drops from 20 Creek Street when viewed from the headland and bridge is false. These houses will sit clearly above the midlayer box as represented by the proponent’s own diagrams.
- The views and amenity of Creek St residents will be severely affected by the raised emergency access road and filled site. Any suggestion to the contrary is unrealistic. Given the past illegal activity and its effect on their amenity already, this would be highly inappropriate.
- Foreshore access should be returned to the locals given the manner in which it was illegally removed and foreshore crown land stolen.
- The amenity of Hastings Point is its views, naturalness and diverse environment. It is highly prized for this reason. This proposal will adversely affect this amenity and in doing so reduce the use and enjoyment for the public and locals of the area.
Roads & Footpaths
- Any change in the height of Creek St will have a significant impact on the residents on the northern side of Creek St.
- The change in the width of the road plus a footpath on the southern side will result in the green verge becoming nearly non existent. This is not supported by the Locality Plan or the community- but the contrary – retain green verge. This needs to be respected. The HPDC is a newer instrument which is specific for Hastings Point and which underwent significant community consultation. Legally, there is sufficient case precedent to support that it takes priority over a shirewide DCP to the extent of any conflict. Widening of the road and inclusion of a footpath further reduces the filtration capacity of this land which will not be removed by swale drains and must be maximised given the flatness of the land. This is evident in heavy rain events. I will have resident provide you with further photos in this regard.
- A smaller development will resolve the traffic issues where Creek St meets Coast Road.
Education and Economic
- The proposed development will significantly impact the environment and in turn the potential viability of the education programme run by Hastings Point Marine Education Centre. This receives thousands of students annually – all schools and students are putting in submissions.
- It also impacts on the potential return of the owners of North Star and 2 Creek Street as the safety and amenity of the area is significantly impacted.
- In reducing the amenity and increasing the flood hazard to the area, it reduces the value of people’s properties considerably.
- Any claim by the proponent that reducing the development would provide no economic return to him is false. Given that the developer paid $1.2 mill for the land, a small development of 6-12 houses would still provide him with a great return.
Planning – General
In short, the constraints to the land in respect of “adjoining environmental zones, flooding, acid sulphate soils, flora and fauna protection, the identified visual settings, sea level rise and access” have been specifically addressed by HPDC in respect of the Lot 156 site to conclude: “As such development of the site is problematic”.
The legal support to respect these constraints exists and should be applied. In considering the constraints of the land, it is a recurring mandate in HPDC to protect and restore/re-establish where clearing and changes to the landform have occurred.