Blue Mountains City Council commences new soft plastics and e-waste recycling trial
Proposed Housing Reforms
Have your say by Friday 23 February
Welcome to the Blue Mountains
The NSW Government’s commitment to increase housing supply under the National Housing Accord has resulted in another ‘one-size-fits-all’ planning proposal that will radically change the character of the Blue Mountains.
Under the government’s proposal, increased building heights and density will be permitted in certain areas. In the Blue Mountains this will mean:
Up to 6-storey residential flat buildings and shop-top housing in town centres and medium density residential areas within 800m of a railway station or town centre
2-3 storey residential buildings of various types in low density residential areas within 800m of a railway station or town centre
2-3 storey dual occupancies (attached or detached) on smaller blocks in all low density residential areas.
These new heights and densities (called ‘non-refusal standards’) will override Council’s current development controls, including environmental and heritage protections.
You won’t know that one is being built next door until the bulldozer or concrete truck arrives.
Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 March
gardens across the Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail is a celebration of the myriad ways Blue Mountains residents are creating food security, saving money and the environment, while enjoying the health benefits of organically grown fruit and veg.
Over the weekend of 2 and 3 March, backyard growers, large and small, from right across the Blue Mountains region will open their gardens to the public to share their passion and knowledge and inspire home-grown environmental sustainability.
The Blue Mountains Edible Garden Trail is one of many trails held throughout the country and is a community run, not-for-profit event, organised by the Blue Mountains Food Co‑op.
Proceeds from ticket sales go to participating school and community gardens.
Save Our Shelter
2pm Saturday 2 March
outside the RSPCA shelter
121-124 Mort St. Katoomba
Dear Blue Mountains Shelter supporters,
The time has come for action.
Will you help us speak up for animals in The Blue Mountains?
On Saturday 2 March 2024, commencing at 2pm, Blue Mountains residents and other members of the public are invited to a peaceful gathering outside the RSPCA shelter in Katoomba at 121-124 Mort St.
Attendees will collectively voice their concerns about the loss of this shelter and what it will mean for vulnerable animals and the community.
It will be a "give-it-back" call for the shelter to be returned to the community who paid for it.
Attendees will hear speakers and/or statements from members of Save Our Shelter, Animal Liberation, the Greens NSW and Animal Justice Party NSW. Our Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle will provide a statement.
Please show your support by attending this important public gathering and sharing the event details with family and friends and more widely.
RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman is still showing no interest at this juncture in giving back the Blue Mountains shelter to the community who built and supported it for decades. No surprises there. We know that for him and his RSPCA NSW Board colleagues the shelter is just an asset and one they would like to monetise. It is time to put pressure on RSPCA NSW big time. Animal Liberation agree with us and have just launched a campaign to have our shelter given back to us. The campaign will reach far and wide and news of RSPCA’s treachery will penetrate well beyond the Mountains.
By the end of June when Council’s contract with RSPCA expires, Council will need a pound and there is no time to waste. The Blue Mountains also needs a shelter where lost or abandoned animals can be cared for and rehomed. The shelter site in Mort St Katoomba can perform both of those functions as it once did - but in the hands of the local community.
The Blue Mountains City Council is the only local entity representing the whole of the Blue Mountains. We are therefore asking the RSPCA to gift the shelter site to the Council. The Council would be able to operate the pound from the site and a Friends of the Pound shelter, similar to those operating elsewhere, can be set up and grow over time to take care of all the shelter operations.
Hope to see you at the rally holding your supportive signs.
Sunset Gathering 6.30pm Thursday 22 February
Conservation Hut, end of Fletcher St, Wentworth Falls
Dr Roy Tasker
The Society's annual sunset gathering at the Conservation Hut; for members and guests. Hear about the Society's activities. Light refreshments provided.
The guest speaker is Roy Tasker on Biochar production and use.
Dr Roy Tasker, Chief Scientific Advisor at Planet Ark, Climate Reality Leader, and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry Education at Western Sydney University. Roy will discuss exciting new technology for the production and uses of biochar as one of the most effective ways for carbon dioxide removal.
Please register at Humanitix to assist with catering, or phone the Society on 0490 419 779 and leave a message indicating your attendance.
Flight Paths Impact Western Sydney International Airport
Submissions now closed
Here's the Society's submission on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport Airspace and Flight Design
Background and Concerns
a disturbed Tawny Frogmouth (Alan Page)
The Western Sydney International airport will be operational in 2026 and at capacity in 2055 when it is predicted there will be 226,000 flights out of WSI per year – that is 619 flights per day. At least half of these flights will go over some part of the Blue Mountains.
The flight paths cross most of the 1.03 million hectares of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. In areas furthest from the airport, the height of flights will be up to 20,000ft above the runway. Remember – the elevation of the Blue Mountains increases as you move west. So if you live at Katoomba (elevation 1023m = 3356 ft) and the flight goes overhead at 17,500ft above the runway, then it is at a height of 14,144 ft above you.
These flight paths will change the way we live and enjoy our lives and they are permanent. We do not believe that our concerns have been listened to in the past.
We are concerned about:
The excess level of noise from overflights across the entire Blue Mountains, including the wilderness areas, the World Heritage Area and the villages. The impact on our values, health and way of life in the Blue Mountains is unacceptable.
The impact of the noise on the internationally renowned wilderness values of the Blue Mountains, which are protected by the Wilderness Act 1987. This will destroy people’s enjoyment of the wilderness and negatively affect tourism.
The negative impact of these flight paths on tourists’ enjoyment of the Blue Mountains iconic views. Who want to see and hear a plane fly by when looking at the Three Sisters?
The negative impact of the high levels of noise on the wildlife of Burragorang State Conservation Area, the Warragamba Protected Area and other natural areas near the airport. These areas will be subjected to noise levels of up to 75dB(A) day and night which will impact the wildlife, particularly birds and frogs which depend on call for communication and breeding.
High risk of wildlife strike, particularly the threatened Grey-headed Flying-fox. Flying-foxes are the animal most involved in collisions with aircraft at airports in Australia. At 1 kg, they can do substantial damage to aircraft, including grounding flights and putting aircrew and passengers at risk. The flying-fox is killed by the strike.
Flying-foxes and birds are important pollinators of plants (including eucalyptus) in our national parks and negative effects on populations will negatively affect our biodiversity.
We are risking our international reputation by not fully protecting this World Heritage Area and our wilderness, both of which have legal protections.
The data collected by WSI Co in their surveys of birds and flying-foxes and other wildlife is entirely inadequate. The World Heritage Guidelines require that all necessary data is collected so that negative impacts are minimized or removed before an action (ie flight paths) can proceed.
Flight paths to be redesigned so they don’t fly over the World Heritage Areas of the Blue Mountains under heights of 31,000ft.
A curfew and hourly limits to the number of flights as for Kingsford Smith Airport.
Robust surveys that conform to both government and World Heritage guidelines to adequately assess risk to the GBMWHA, adjacent natural areas. The risks must then be eliminated or minimized, or the action must not proceed.
Residents can also now drop off all e-waste (anything with a cord) for recycling at the facilities.
Council has teamed up with RecycleSmart who will collect the soft plastics and e-waste items and deliver them to their recycling partners for processing.
These new options will allow residents to divert waste from landfill and help the Blue Mountains transition to a circular economy.
The circular economy reduces waste by sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended and can minimise the amount of waste in landfills.
Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said: “As part of Council’s goal to transition the Blue Mountains to a circular economy, we have found a solution to assist residents to recycle their soft plastics and e-waste and help divert them from landfill.
“This means residents can confidently recycle soft plastics including bread bags, bubble wrap, cereal box liners, packets from lollies, chocolates and chips, resealable bags, grocery bags and plastic film.
“They can also recycle e-waste including all small appliances, DVD players, smartwatches, electric toothbrushes and more.”