Environment group objects to aged care proposal
The Peninsula Environment Group has lodged an objection with Central Coast Council regarding the proposed 160-bed aged care development on the corner of Hillview St and Veron Rd.
President Ms Elizabeth Gordon said: "This block of land contains one of four remnants of Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland, the native woodland that used to cover much of the Peninsula," Ms Gordon said.
"The other remnants are near Umina Park/School, Brisbane Water College Umina campus and McEvoy Oval," she said.
"Less than two hectares of this woodland survives and it is classed as an endangered ecological community and state significant vegetation.
"This means Council has a legal duty to protect it.
"Ideally, we believe, Council should buy back this block of land and turn it into a reserve.
"Failing that, Council must ensure any development on the site properly protects the endangered woodland.
"The developer was granted a DA in 2007 to build a 37-unit aged care facility, on condition that work commenced within five years, that is, by 2012, otherwise a new DA would be required.
"Although it is now 2017, the developer claims to have commenced work and has applied for a Section 96 variation, which allows them to proceed without a new DA.
"However, we believe Council should require the developer to submit a new DA, and require the developer to demonstrate that the new proposal adequately protects the woodland.
"The developer may have carried out minor preparatory work, but by any reasonable standard the development has not commenced, hence the original DA should have lapsed.
"The new proposal is substantially different, from 56 units to 160 beds, and from two storeys to three.
"The height of the development now exceeds the height limit for housing within the zone.
"A nursing home is required to have five square metres of landscaping for each bed/resident.
"With the increase in beds from 56 to 160, this is now only true of the development if the woodland is considered to be landscaping.
"However, the woodland should not be considered part of the landscaping because its protection requires it be kept largely free of people except when required to maintain it.
"Protecting the woodland understorey plants is incompatible with having large numbers of residents and their visitors walking and sitting in the woodland areas.
The group's submission to Central Coast Council objecting to the Section 96 application said: "The proposed development on the site is significantly different to the original DA that was approved, with conditions, in 2007.
"It increases the height of buildings, and changes the development from a retirement village of 37 units to a care facility for 160 residents.
"These significant changes should require a new DA with an environmental impact statement to properly consider whether the new proposal is compatible with the protection of the woodland on the site.
"The expanded number of residents means more people and traffic around the site.
"The height of the development has been increased by 50 per cent and now exceeds the height limit for housing within the zone, and means potentially extra shadowing on the woodland vegetation."
Media release, 5 Jun 2017
Elizabeth Gordon, Peninsula Environment Group