Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Steve McGrath talks to supporters at the rally outside the council offices against the development of greenbelts on the Northern Beaches.
Coffs Harbour City Council general manager Steve McGrath talks to supporters at the rally outside the council offices against the development of greenbelts on the Northern Beaches. Kim Satchell

Take a look at real Hearnes Lake

TOO few people get out of their offices and into their walking shoes or canoes to see what Hearnes Lake is all about on the ground, says Kay Davison.

The keen canoeist has an intimate knowledge of Hearnes Lake in all seasons and knows from first-hand experience what is meant by an intermittently opening and closing lake (ICOL).

Hearnes Lake is an ICOL, which means that its water levels fluctuate markedly and sometimes very rapidly.

The opening and closing of the lake depends on rainfall, the amount of water flowing into the lake from the creek and tidal levels.

Ms Davison says this week she would be walking on dry ground in the same location in which she was pictured yesterday with water and mud almost up to her knees.

She said that spot showed the beginning of the mapped 100- metre buffer zone from the high water mark used in planning for the proposed 200-lot Sandy Shores subdivision.

Coffs Harbour City Council on Tuesday launched a Class 4 legal action in the NSW Land and Environment Court, requiring a judicial review of the Minister for Lands’ concept approval for the subdivision on a low-lying 49.5ha site south of Hearnes Lake and north of Sandy Beach.

National Parks Association spokesman Ashley Love said yesterday it was time recreational fishing organisations and the Shooters and Fishers Party got behind the council and local community efforts to save fish breeding and nursery habitats on the Northern Beaches estuaries.

He said both organisations had been vocal on fish conservation issues.

Mr Love congratulated the council on its appeal decision and said ‘considerable’ financial and environmental savings would accrue from not having to support an unsustainable development.

Mr Love is one of the architects of the Northern Beaches Alliance, which has put forward a strategy to persuade State Government departments to pool resources and acquire four properties at Hearnes Lake, North Emerald and South Moonee Forest to protect these greenbelt areas.

He said the Department of Planning and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water had already demonstrated they could co-operate in buying and protecting greenbelt areas between Red Rock and Safety Beach, and the RTA Pacific Highway Sapphire to Woolgoolga compensatory habitat package offered both the timing and opportunity to protect the greenbelts of the lower Northern Beaches.



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