With the acknowledged wildlife corridor plan released by the federal government (Mercury, November 5), one could not think of a better plan for the wildlife corridor between the Australian National Heritage-listed area of the Royal National Park and the Garrawarra State Conservation Area to the Woronora Plateau of the Illawarra Escarpment.
Yes, the controversial 7d zone land around Helensburgh is once again being attacked for another free-for-all on development, funded by ratepayers' money that would be better spent on infrastructure throughout the Illawarra.
It is interesting to note that the chair for the advisory group is none other than Bob Debus, who wrote to me in 2005 while he was in state government. He acknowledged the importance of the wildlife corridor.
For the Hacking River Protected Environment land speculators around Helensburgh, one sentence in that letter would certainly be of interest to them. It reads:
"The majority of remaining high conservation land (other than Crown) of the Illawarra Escarpment and Upper Hacking valley is freehold tenure and so acquisition is dependent on the availability of acquisition funding and willingness of land-holders to offer their land for sale."
If I can find that out in 2005, why didn't the 7d land speculators?
The DEC was also exploring options with Wollongong City Council to acquire high conservation value lands in the same area. I wonder what happened to that?
However, the letter pointed out that the top priority for these additions would be strengthening the corridor between the Royal NP and Illawarra Escarpment SCA.
In 2012, under the Wildlife Corridors Plan, now is the time for that to happen.