What I am about to say applies to the whole of the Central Coast.
Gosford Council, many years ago, on my initiative, resolved a visionary approach.
That motion was: “An excellent quality of life based upon minimum population growth, ecologically sustainable development, the provision and maintenance of effective services and the creation of new employment opportunities.”
Quality of life must be a prime objective in any future vision planning for Gosford and the Central Coast.
Thirty people on Terrigal Beach is unique, but 3,000 people on the same beach is no longer unique or even pleasant.
Sustainability and quality of life should underpin all Central Coast planning strategies.
Yet state and federal governments, and councils, continue to promote growth as the solution to our economic woes and unemployment without any scientific or rational basis.
Australia’s net annual immigration intake was 237,300 under Labor and 190,000 under the Liberals.
Way too high.
One of Australia’s most popular males, aviator and entrepreneur, Mr Dick Smith, advocates annual immigrant intake of 100,000, to which I agree.
The state minister should be knocking on (Minister for Immigration) Dutton’s door for an urgent review, and so should we, to lower our immigration intake to a sustainable level of around 100,000 per year.
Have we ever seen a cost-benefit study on growth?
How do we measure the loss of bird life, agricultural land, pristine lakes and rivers, the hills and valleys and the ability to walk down the streets without fear?
In the words of Dr John Cole, director of the sustainable industries unit at the Queensland EPA: “The economy is a subject of the society, and they are both contained within the environment, the environment is that which holds it all together.”
China’s president, Jiang Zemin, in 1997, said that overpopulation is driving people into poverty and ruining the environment.
If we don’t manage and constrain our growth, we will pay a high price, no matter what infrastructure improvements we make.
Packing more and more people into the Central Coast is not going to solve our unemployment problem.
It will aggravate it.
It won’t ease our commuting problem.
It will add to it.
It will not solve our traffic congestion.
It will only make it worse.
We don’t want to be squashed together.
We want room to move, relax and enjoy a high quality of life.
We have a diverse area from the mountains to the sea.
Our village communities such as Macmasters, Killcare, Toukley, Noraville, and Copacabana are unique and their low-rise character needs to be retained.
The Entrance, Wamberal, Terrigal and Avoca have different roles to play, but should still remain low-rise to medium rise seaside towns.
The Peninsula area should remain a collection of low-rise suburbs complementing the superb waterways and bushland.
We must retain our agricultural heritage: no urbanisation or re-zonings west of the M1.
Rural land is precious, we can’t manufacture any more of it.
After all, it brings in $167 million plus per year.
Also there should be no coal or gas mining in our region.
It’s our only water catchment area.
In a severe drought, like a decade or so ago, we will not be able to draw water from Sydney or the Hunter as they will need all theirs for increased population.
The Coastal Open Spaces System (COSS) land should remain as it is and expanded.
This helps to provide healthy waterways, wildlife corridors and clean air.
Go to any of our lookouts and what do you see: green ridge lines and valleys that must be preserved.
How do we achieve all this?
By choosing the right people and being active to getting them elected?
Pressurise MPs, state and federal ministers to keep our region, to enhance our quality of life, not diminish it.
Email, May 29
Malcolm H Brooks OAM