New episode of the Sandy saga begins
THERE is once again heightened interest in bushland and lake area to the north of Sandy Beach as the deadline draws near for work to begin on one of the most controversial housing estates on the mid north coast.
According to Department of Planning Environment documents, work must begin on the Sandy Shores development by December 20, or concept approval will lapse.
The Sandy Beach Action Group have shared their concerns, saying the development is planned to take place near Hearnes Lake, an unusual intermittently open-closed lake system, and home to wide array of threatened plant and animal species.
They added the lake system also forms an integral part of the Solitary Islands Marine Park wildlife habitat.
As Planning Minister, Tony Kelly approved the housing development in 2010.
In the wake of the court action the owners of the site went into receivership, and the successful bidder was a Bankstown construction company, Elite Constructions.
The site has been approved for 200 houses in the southern and south-eastern sections and another 80 houses have provisional approval.
More than half the site has been zoned for either conservation or National Park.
The residents' committee, Sand Beach Action Group (Sandbags) has raised objections to some of the proposed modifications to the concept plan, such as moves by the developer to use conservations zones for drainage.
The group is also arguing that the long gap between the original engineering plans and start of construction has meant that much of the underlying science, and the policy framework that governs coastal developments, are now both out of date.
A spokesman for Sandbags said that when the planning was first undertaken, the drainage was engineered in accordance with climate change prediction which have since been updated, however there had been no corresponding changes in drainage plans.