Conservationists question nursing home application

The Australian Conservation Foundation Central Coast Branch has questioned the transparency and validity of a decision by Central Coast Council to consider a Section 96 variation on a five-year-old development consent for land on Hillview St, Woy Woy.
Branch president Mr Mark Ellis said: “Conservationists on the Woy Woy Peninsula are wondering about the transparency of the DA process within the Central Coast Council.”
Mr Ellis said he called on Council to require a new DA for a proposed 160-bed nursing home on the corner of Hillview and Veron Road, as he believed the previous application expired in 2012 without the formally-approved development ever being properly commenced.
“That is five years ago and 11 years after the Land and Environment Court case prevented the Umina Sand Plain Woodland Endangered Ecological Community from being cleared for an aged care development,” he said.
“Members of the branch are also exasperated that the administrator and council planning staff could even allow this new development a section 96 when there has been no action on the site to keep the DA alive and it is a complete departure from the previous DA with a near triple increase in the number of units proposed, along with height and bulk which will have an impact on the remaining vegetation.
“The planting plan is not sympathetic to the surrounding vegetation either.
“The previous owners did not adhere completely to the court conditions and now new owners are looking to use the previous conditions as evidence for work on the site.
“Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland is currently only known to survive in three small areas at Umina Oval, McEvoy Oval and Umina High School and at a tiny remnant at Little Patonga Beach.
“The total area still surviving in 2002 was estimated at less than two hectares.
“Understorey has been removed at Pearl Beach and for this development.
“It has been so long the since the original DA was approved many factors have now changed ecologically on the site and socially around the Peninsula, along with changes to this endangered habitat.
“To add insult to the community, the Council requires 50 significant objections for it to be heard,” he said.
“We are not opposed to sustainable developments that are sensitive to environment and local surrounds.
“This fulfils neither and is an abuse of the process.”

Media release, 24 May 2017
Mark Ellis, ACF Central Coast