Central Coast Council called on the State Government to pause works and consult with residents over amended plans for the Rail Maintenance Facility at Kangy Angy, which has resulted in significant removal of trees.
Council made the call to support local residents who were staging ongoing protests at the construction site of the $300m rail maintenance facility. Mayor Jane Smith, who met on site with residents on Tuesday, July 31, said the Coast’s natural environment was highly valued by residents and was what made the Coast unique and must be protected. “Council, despite being the level of government closest to the people, has limited power to ensure that these works are compliant,” Mayor Smith said. “We have raised this directly with the Department of Planning, but that is all we can do at this time,” Smith said.
“We are currently awaiting clarification about which agency has responsibility for monitoring the compliance of works on the site. “That is why we are calling on the State Government to pause construction, in a show of good faith to the community, consult with Council and assure the residents that the works underway will have a minimal impact on the natural environment and amenity of the area.” The Mayor said her visit to the site was to “talk directly to the residents and tell them that their Council stands with them in this fight to minimise further impacts on our natural environment and improve the outcomes for the local residents.
“Council has shown strong leadership in our previous resolution calling on Transport NSW to change the location of the facility and our resolve has not changed.” A large portion of land for the Kangy Angy site is zoned E2 Environmental Conservation and applies to all areas that contain high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values. The objectives of the zone are to protect these resources and prevent development that would have an adverse effect on them. Construction permitted in E2 zones includes flood mitigation works, roads and environmental facilities.
“The State Government has used its powers to override the zonings and allow the maintenance facility on this site when an alternate location was offered. “This demonstrates the vulnerability of our current environmental zonings,” said Mayor Smith. Central Coast Council also met with Transport for NSW on Thursday, August 2, to discuss residents’ concerns. In a written statement, Council said: “Transport for NSW and the Central Coast Council are working together to investigate options which help to ease the concerns of local residents. “We will provide an update to the community as soon as possible and thank them for their patience.” Mayor Smith said: “It is now time for the State Government to listen to the united voice of Councils and show its own strong commitment to protecting environmental lands by introducing the E5 zoning.”
Source: Media release, Jul 31 Media statement, Aug 7 Central Coast Council media