Att: Wollongong City Council
Locked Bag 8821,
WOLLONGONG DC NSW 2500
Re: Planning Proposal '7D' land Metropolitan Colliery Precinct
I agree that the bushland surrounding the Colliery needs to be preserved as much as possible & therefore an E2 zoning, in order to protect the Hacking River catchment, the wildlife corridor connecting the Royal Park to the Illawarra escarpment, the habitat of threatened native species, and the health and comfort of 2508 residents, as an important buffer to airborne coal dust from the Metropolitan Colliery.
Dense bushland and rainforest not only retains excessive stormwater and prevents soil erosion, it more importantly maintains a natural airfilter and sound barrier to the disturbance and coal dust discharge expected from a large mine . Trees and bushland on the ridge skyline also hide the heavy industry from the surrounding village community and tourist drives. In acccordance with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water & the Department of Planning regulations; the colliery has stricts limits of coal dust, noise, lights, water run-off and waste emitted. Neighbouring private properties affected /damaged by excessive levels can even demand compulsory aquisition by the Colliery, so all complaints received by Metropolitan Colliery are recorded, investigated, reported and a solution sought
It would therefore be in the Helensburgh /Otford residents and Metropolitan Mines' best interests that all existing vegetation around the mine surface and the region above and around the long wall mining, and ventilation shafts is not only conserved but increased and thickened. To maintain the conservation status that 7D afforded this precinct and surrounding bushland, E2 zoning must be implemented.
Additional to the Colliery precinct, all bushland precincts between Helensburgh and Otford should be zoned E2, as they form the Hacking River catchment and form the crucial wildlife habitat corridor linking the Royal National Park to the Illawarra escarpment. And is surrounded by beautiful areas of rainforest in the deep valley and old growth forest on the steep upper slopes. Powerful owls, bentwing bats, pygmy possums all inhabit this region, and there is high evidence of resident platypus on the banks of the river.
All stormwater and run off from this precinct leads directly to the Hacking River, into to the Royal National Park area. Containment ponds in Helensburgh have failed , and more in Helensburgh or Otford will not help. There is no guarantee stormwater and pollution control systems will work effectively in such a high rainfall region. The only method to retain the relative purity of the Hacking catchment and river, is to cease and prevent any new development, and restore degraded land to native bush.
The forest and bushland north, east and south of this precinct should not only be preserved but restored as a buffer to the mine but also a natural block to hot westerly winds, keeping the Otford valley and Hacking catchment moist and temperate.
Any zoning other than E2 does not provide adequate protection against land clearing nor future high density dwellings. We have already seen how quick the Department of Planning can remove clauses that would otherwise inhibit development. This precinct must be zoned E2.