Community says no to Peat Island proposal

Around 160 people gathered at Mooney Mooney on Sunday, December 12, to show their opposition to the current planning proposal on exhibition for Peat Island and foreshore land to the west of the M1.

Tracey Howie, spokesperson for the Dyarubbin Peat Island Association, said it was reassuring to see the Member for Gosford, Liesl Tesch, and Linda Burney, Federal Shadow Minister for Human Services, support the ongoing community campaign to save Peat Island lands.

“Peat Island and adjacent foreshore lands deserve a better vision than the high-density housing and tourism hotel being put forward by Property and Development NSW,” Howie said.

“The community has been saying no to successive state government proposals for this land since it was closed as a health facility in 2011 and still Property and Development NSW don’t seem to understand our concerns,” she said.

“This land has substantial cultural significance for my people, it has substantial environmental significance and it is not an appropriate location for housing.

Tracey Howie

“There are so many reasons why Central Coast Council should refuse this current planning proposal which would see Peat Island and adjacent foreshore land carved up for medium-density housing.

“The lack of a plan of management to protect the Aboriginal carvings here is one of those reasons.

“The lack of adherence to the NSW Government’s own planning instruments including the Coastal Management Plan and Sydney Regional Environmental Plan No 20.

“How is it possible for the Central Coast Council to approve a rezoning that directly contravenes such major planning instruments?

“The rezoning will also have major environmental consequences – the current wastewater treatment system in place at Brooklyn already cannot cope with the sewage flows from Mooney Moonet at peak times so how will it cope with a brand new suburb the equivalent size of Brooklyn?

“If the loss of a major Indigenous site of national cultural significance is not reason enough to stop this planning proposal perhaps the threat it poses to the river and nearby aquaculture industry might be,” Howie said.

For over 12 months the Dyarubbin Peat Island Association has been developing a Better Vision for Peat Island lands – one that acknowledges, respects and preserves its cultural and environmental significance.

“Our proposal would see these lands stay in public hands via a community trust – similar to the Sydney Harbour Trust.

“Our vision is that Peat Island and the adjacent foreshore could become the Cockatoo Island of the north – a stunning gateway for domestic and international travellers to the Central Coast, Sydney’s Hawkesbury River and the whole east coast of NSW.

“We also believe any future use of the site needs to pay respects to its long and tumultuous use as a psychiatric facility.”

Howie said she was overwhelmed by the community’s support for the campaign to Save Peat Island.

“Many people who came to the event on Sunday wrote submissions opposing the planning proposal on the spot.

“We don’t have many days left now – submissions close on December 12 – so we are encouraging the community to go to to register their opposition to the current planning proposal.

“If we can stop the current planning proposal we can then start a positive campaign to turn Peat Island lands into the stunning gateway of the Lower Hawkesbury and the Central Coast,” she said.

Media release, Dec 16
Tracey Howie, Dyarubbin Peat Island Association