CENTRAL COAST MAYOR JANE SMITH CALLS FOR NEW MEASURES TO PROTECT ENVIRONMENT

Mayor Jane Smith has lodged a notice of motion for tonight’s council meeting which among other things calls for an environmental snapshot of the region to be prepared and the expansion of the Coastal Open Space System into northern suburbs. 

Following the destruction of the bushland and habitat at Kangy Angy for the train maintenance facility … the endangered Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot are present in the Central Coast, and Mahony’s Toadlet that was identified at Kangy Angy …

 

 

 

Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith calls for new measures to protect environment

VIDEO: Why the Central Coast needs to get serious about environmental issues

Central Coast Councillors will be asked to significantly ramp up measures to protect what remains of the region’s natural areas and biodiversity.

 

Mayor Jane Smith has lodged a notice of motion for tonight’s council meeting which among other things calls for an environmental snapshot of the region to be prepared and the expansion of the Coastal Open Space System into northern suburbs.

Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith. Picture: AAP / Troy Snook.

 

The motion was prompted by a recent United Nations report which found that one million of the world’s species are now at risk of becoming extinct and calling for action at global, national and local level.

Speaking before the meeting, Mayor Smith, said the predicted rate of extinctions would be felt all over the world — including on the Central Coast.

“The Hunter and Central Coast Regional Management Strategy identifies more than 150 endangered species now in the Hunter and Central Coast. Across NSW there are over 1000. These are alarming statistics,” Cr Smith said.

Critically endangered Swift parrot could be lost on the Central Coast..
Regent honeyeater is disappearing quickly.

 

“Here on the coast, the species that come immediately to mind are the Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot, which are considered critically endangered and Mahony’s Toadlet, that was identified at Kangy Angy,” she said.

“The threat to the toadlet habitat was one of the many concerns raised about the removal of native vegetation to allow the maintenance facility at Kangy Angy to go ahead.

“There are also other well-known plants and animals on the Central Coast that are at risk including Green and Gold Bell Frog, Somersby Mintbush, Hanging Swamps on the Somersby plateau, Powerful Owl — just to name a few.

Endangered Green and Golden Bell Frog.
Powerful owl is endangered on the Central coast.

 

“But it’s important that our focus is not just on threatened species — but on biodiversity in general. We should be working to protect biodiversity so that plants and animals don’t reach the point where they are at risk.”

Despite concerns about environmental decline — Cr Smith said no “state of the environment report” had been prepared on the Central Coast since 2012, before amalgamation.

Her motion calls for the report by July next year, including a comparing the current situation with the last known environmental snapshots prepared by the former Gosford and Wyong Councils.

Land before construction started on the rail maintenance facility.
Land after construction started on the rail maintenance facility.

 

“State of the Environment Report is a Council’s environment report card. It tells us what the state of the environment is at that time and also how it is trending,” she said.

A number of Councils choose to do State of the Environment Reports every yearLake Macquarie Council is one of those.”

Cr Smith said she was keen to both expand and strengthen council’s Coastal Open Space System.

The system was introduced by the former Gosford Council in 1984 providing a unique patchwork of wildlife corridors and protected natural areas.

Cr Smith said she was particularly interested in a special new zoning for COSS lands — an E5 Zone.

Katandra Reserve is part of council’s Coastal Open Space System.
Kincumba Mountain Reserve is also part of the COSS System. Picture: ANDREW SAWATSKE

 

“The former Gosford Council fought for this zoning and the State Government agreed to it — but it’s yet to be delivered,” she said.

“That would be the strongest possible zoning for land outside a National Park.

“It is something that I intend to continue to raise with the Government and NSW Minister for Planning as it is crucial for the long term protection of environmental land on the Central Coast.

“Certainly a key objective of our own Community Strategy Plan and an action of the State Government’s Central Coast Regional Plan is to expand COSS into the northern parts of the Central Coast.”

Pcouncil’s Coastal Open Space System could be expanded into northern areas. Picture by Andrew Smith.

 

The Mayor said with the right policies the Central Coast had the potential to become a leader in sustainable development.

“Sustainability is key to my vision for the Central Coast — economic, social and environmental sustainability,” she said.

“It provides opportunities to put the Central Coast on the map.

Map showing location of Central Coast Council Coastal Open Space land (in bright green).

 

“Green and smart are key themes in our Community Strategic Plan and I absolutely want Council to deliver these priorities that our community has told us are important to them.

“We have created a new Innovation and Futures Department to deliver that. We have a new head of that Department starting next month.”