Toxic legacy needs a population rethink

Vales Point power station at Mannering ParkVales Point power station at Mannering Park

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Residents from the northern end of the Coast have had rates redirected to the southern suburbs for infrastructure and then been classified as the lower socio-economic region.

This is an insult to those choosing to live anywhere north of The Entrance bridge.

It is reflected in the latest Central Coast Council’s Community Profile and projected Population Forecasts and, as developers’ bulldozers are currently kept busy destroying native bushland and habitats, without too much community consultation.

Figures released indicate what I have predicted since the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 and Greater Lake Munmorah Structure Plans were released: the dumping of major housing, commercial and industrial developments into the northern region without any thought about hospitals, schools, water or sewerage, roads or environmental impacts on the Tuggerah Lakes system.

The tiny northern suburbs like Lake Munmorah and Chain Valley Bay have a predicted increase in population of over 71.45 per cent, Gwandalan/Summerland  Point 26.64 per cent, San Remo/ Doyalson 21.56 per cent, Kanwal 46.9 per cent, Wadalba 67.4 per cent, Woongarrah 130.70 per cent and Warnervale with a staggering 432.3 per cent increase.

Allowing for the push of development in Gosford and Tuggerah, southern suburbs such as Umina/ Pearl Beach have a predicted 1.6 per cent increase, Woy Woy five per cent, Avoca 0.8 per cent, Terrigal/ North Avoca 1.5 per cent, Narara 1.3 per cent and Foresters Beach 2.4 per cent.

It was the Berejiklian Government that forced the Central Coast Regional Plan 2036 on to us without too much opposition from our Council.

It was the Berejiklian Government that introduced Local and Regional Planning Panels to take the planning process out of the hands of elected councillors, if the development value is over $20M.

It was the same government, with Berejiklian as Treasurer, which sold off Vales Point Power Station for $1M.

Five years it was valued at $730M with the owners giving themselves a $60M dividend.

The legacy of environmental and human health impacts from this one development with its stored 100 million tonnes of toxic coal ash is one of the reasons why somebody or some department has completely stuffed up with their population projections.

In March a bipartisan NSW Legislative Council Public Works Committee unanimously recommended major changes to processes around ash dams in NSW.

Recommendation 6 is that NSW Health immediately undertake an epidemiological assessment of the health of residents near coal ash dams to establish the health impacts of coal ash and publish by December 31, 2022.

Recommendation 9 calls for a newly established taskforce to inquire into regulations affecting coal ash reuse, including the stability and regulation of ash dams, waste standards to ensure that coal ash is not contaminated with other waste (asbestos) and land remediation, including the state and effectiveness of current capping, the current and future risk of leakage into surrounding environment, and impacts of vegetation cover.

The unanimously approved report with 16 major recommendations also had the following Committee comment (3.66): “We are disappointed with the response by the NSW EPA and NSW Health to community concerns about a potential link between the circulation of additional metals in the air and waterways, and the impacts on health outcomes for the community.

“This response, in conjunction with the lack of research conducted to date on this matter, demonstrates a complete disregard by the government towards the health of its citizens”.

All this in a region where there is NSW Government approval for an increase in population of well over 796.95 per cent.

Yet I hear no objections from Council nor any approval of those 16 recommendations, even though Council itself has endorsed the Inquiry’s findings.

I believe that it is quite obvious that several state government ministers, bureaucrats and high flyers own property in the southern end of the Central Coast and do not want major increases in population for their own reasons.

Therefore, let’s dump it all in the north, under the cover of a Regional or Structure plan, out of sight and out of mind and hope that nobody picks up on it.

Call me cynical but the figures don’t add up.

Email, July 22
Gary Blaschke, Lake Munmorah

1 Comment on "Toxic legacy needs a population rethink"

  1. Graham Cooper | July 29, 2021 at 9:03 am |

    It good to have so much local info at my fingertips, great work folks, well done! Cheers, Graham K Cooper. Cooper and Cooper Investment Property Solutions.

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