To Mr Adrian Panuccio, Councillors and Staff, MidCoast Council.
First of all, I would like to congratulate and welcome Mr Adrian Panuccio, starting his new job as our General Manager for MidCoast Council. I hope this will be an opportunity for Council to set our region on the right track towards prosperity, diversity and environmental consultation, with rate payers and residents who have chosen the MidCoast area because of its beauty and diversity.
Second of all, we hope that the past council’s errors of judgement, cronyism and, may I add, corruption, will be a things of the past. We want cohesion and strict adherence to strategy plans drawn up by Council. I am referring to the
COMPREHENSIVE KOALA PLAN OF MANAGEMENT for the Greater Taree Council, and The RAINBOW FLAT LOCAL AREA STRATEGY Plan 2002.
Costly strategic papers were thrown on the scrap heap and never adopted. Someone in Council did not want these papers implemented, as they would have affected their ideas of property development.
A spokesperson from Council spoke to me about this issue, and she said that the Blackhead strategy had been implemented. Well? Where is the continuous koala corridor with walkways for people to enjoy the bush at Blackhead? To me, it looks very fragmented, with lots of barbed wire fences surrounding the properties. These are a deterrent for Koalas and Wallabies to travel safely between the fragmented and sparse habitat left around the housing allotment.
I would also like to point out some serious past transgressions by our previous Councils. The Tea Garden environmental scandal, in which an owner-developer vandalised and caused long-term damage to a pristine coastal stretch at Tea Gardens, and was prosecuted and fined over the years. An application for a quarry at the same place at Tea Gardens was applied for, but refused by Great Lakes Council. We now have a current shocking revelation that Taree Council did not act and fine the rogue owner of the illegal quarry at Rainbow Flat, which operated for more than five years (with council’s knowledge) without a license.
Council has now allowed him to apply for a DA, that includes a noisy polluting and toxic recycling Concrete Crushing facility, with 120 semitrailer movement per day, just metres from existing dwellings. What kind of message is Council giving law abiding citizens, who do the right thing, working from registered/licensed business addresses?
Are they not prosecuting because the owner of the ill-conceived quarry is a former Councillor with connections?
Our senior Ecologist, Mathew Bell, for the new council, is now busy drawing up a new Koala habitat mapping of the area, to find out where all the Koalas are living. The sighting of Koalas is not common now, because the plan and strategy from 2002 were never implemented! The destruction of wild-life habitat in our suburbs, over the years, has led to soul-less fragmented communities, where the only means of transport is by car, travelling to sports and other activities for young families.
If the strategic plans had been adopted, then our suburbs would look different from what you see today. We would perhaps see Koala corridor habitat maintained/created, with cycleways/walkways between suburbs, so children do not have to rely on their busy parents ferrying them in cars to their activities. Cycleways/walkways can co-exist with Koala habitat, if the Koala trees are preserved. Koalas can forage from tree canopy to tree canopy, without having to cross open areas to get to their tree of preference. These corridors could also be incorporated in areas like Rainbow Flat (where pockets of Koalas are struggling to survive), and all the way through to Khappinghat National Park. These cycleways do not need to be bitumen-sealed, but maintained with gravel. These cycleways/walkways, if constructed properly, would attract many younger people to our area.
We would like to see more solar / wind power initiative across the region. Each new estate should be designed with the best carbon footprint in mind, to combat global weather extremes.
We have a small window of opportunity left to correct all the wrongs of our past. We need to show our visitors to the area, and new arrivals who make the MidCoast Council area their home, that our area is progressive and innovative, and a place where young professionals may want to live.
The relatively new Council members now have a chance to prove that they are worthy of being in charge of a very beautiful and a unique part of NSW, and make the Mid Coast stand out and attract visitors not, only for our Beaches, but also for our beautiful wildlife, forests and mountains.