No Retrospective Approval This Time
Last year the Gordon Falls Bushcare Group, having spent many hours weeding and revegetating Gordon Falls Reserve, received a certificate of appreciation from Blue Mountains City Council for 10 years service to the community. Regeneration work on creek-lines in the Reserve has been funded through the Urban Runoff Control Program. Members who remember the mass of weeds and land degradation in the reserve and on the approaches to the lovely old bushwalk through Lyrebird Dell and the Pool of Siloam have commented on the improvement. But is all this work to be in vain?
Four years ago, on land adjacent to the reserve and without Council approval, the steep, fern-covered sides of Gordon Falls Creek were bulldozed and significant areas of important creek-line vegetation were destroyed. This vegetation, immediately upslope of the National Park, had acted as a barrier to water and sediment flows for a creek which runs through Lyrebird Dell and the Pool of Siloam. The removal of large pine trees on the property had been approved, but the bulldozing of the creek-line had not.
Since the removal of the pines and the excavation of the creek banks, pine logs, needles and sediment were noticed in the creek as far down as the Pool of Siloam. Creek banks have collapsed, associated vegetation has been lost, and sediment deposits downstream have dramatically increased.
A Land Use Application for landscaping work on the property has been lodged and will soon be considered by Council. The Applicant claims the development will have a 'positive impact' on the natural environment by stabilising disturbed land-but the land wasn't disturbed until it was unlawfully bulldozed by the applicant! The application is of serious concern and should be refused for a number of reasons.
The proposed restoration of the riparian vegetation does not go far enough-a much larger area was destroyed than the proposal indicates and needs to be restored.
The development will have an adverse impact on the National Park. The proposed landscaped gardens are likely to increase the nutrients, sediment and weeds which enter the creek-line, and therefore the National Park, because of the inadequacy of a buffer to the creek-line.
The unauthorised work and proposed Landscape Plans contravene a number of requirements of Council's LEP91.
We urge Councillors NOT to give retrospective approval to this environmental vandalism.