EcoNetwork – Port Stephens made this submission to the Manager, Industry Assessments, Planning Services of Planning and Environment on 28 July 2015.
We are aware of the failed 2005 Development Application for the same site and acknowledge this current DA as an improvement on the refused consent of 2005/6.
The following comprise our brief assessment of this current project:
a) The application of Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) principles and criteria in relation to…
b) Onsite solar energy generation
c) Onsite water harvesting for potable supply, irrigation and toilet applications
d) Onsite environmental/carbon off-sets including a landscaped 4ha lagoon
e) Use of environmentally-friendly construction and building materials
f) Excess site water run-off appropriately managed with access to the Anna Bay Main Drain
g) An Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan
We have the following questions:
a) Is the ESD application subject to design and cost outcomes?
b) Will ESD applications attain our expectation for genuinely sustainable and best practice outcomes?
c) Will carbon reductions will be a model for tourist facilities across NSW?
d) Will onsite noise abatement in relations to entertainment venues, air-conditioning, water pumps and traffic management, include appropriate noise and visual buffers acceptable to adjacent residents
e) Will vehicular entry and egress points be aesthetically designed and landscaped?
f) Will the size, height and bulk of the project limit natural light, sunlight and natural airflows around and between buildings?
g) How will underground water tanks can be installed without excavation?
h) Given local experience in failed projects, it would seem the lodgement of an appropriate bond with the consent authority would seem to be prudent and necessary in the event of partial or incomplete construction requiring remedial works. Is this being considered?
i) Will regular onsite departmental supervision and inspection be available to oversee and ensure compliance with NSW legislation, regulation and conditions of consent?
We would appreciate clarification of the above 9 questions prior to expressing support or opposition to this Development Application.
Carbon reduction with unwanted qualification
Besides the stated commitment to Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD), we welcome the further carbon reduction and energy efficiency proposals through Basix, Nabers and Green Star.
However, we are aware of developer misdemeanor in relation to Basix and this observation emphasises the value of onsite supervision and inspection to ensure compliance.
Further for the attention of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage supervision and inspection, the stated: “Energy Model – to see what may be realistically achieved for this type of development” represents an unwanted qualification that seems to be in contradiction to the welcome energy efficiencies projected by Northrop Consulting Engineers in their ESD advice.
A Biodiversity Offsets Strategy
Though EcoNetwork questions environmental offset policies, we would welcome a well-designed and supervised onsite offset as proposed in a 4ha landscaped lagoon.
The Biodiversity Offsets Strategy in accordance with the NSW Biodiversity Offsets Policy for Major Projects is a vital step in this direction.
Being an above natural ground-level installation will require world’s best practice in guaranteeing its durability and sustainability requiring ongoing consultation with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).
We acknowledge due consideration to the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; NSW Environmental Protection and Assessment Act; the Port Stephens Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management; State Environmental Plan (SEPP) 14; wildlife corridor values for aquatic flora and fauna; no onsite excavation; and no aquifer interference.
Nigel Dique, Acting Secretary. Darrell Dawson, Coordinator.
For the EcoNetwork Executive Committee PO Box 97 Nelson Bay 2315.