Northern Illawarra environmental lobbyists have stepped up their opposition to Wollongong City Council’s proposed land zoning changes around Helensburgh and Otford.
Otford Protection Society president Natasha Watson urged concerned residents to speak their mind before the exhibition period for the proposal ends on Friday.
Ms Watson was on hand late last month when NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge visited the area and blasted the council’s proposal to reclassify sensitive land around the Royal National Park, paving the way for low-density housing in some areas.
Mr Shoebridge said allowing development around Helensburgh’s Frew Avenue and Walker Street precincts would risk the future of a vital green corridor linking the national park and the sea.
Ms Watson said development would affect wildlife corridors between the Royal National Park and surrounding state conservation areas.
‘‘For the future of our beautiful coastline, national parks, tourism, threatened native animals, and fresh air for Wollongong and Sydney, and less strain on infrastructure, this green corridor needs the highest protection, and development limited to suitable infilling within the township,’’ she said.
‘‘We can’t move the national parks nor the ocean so must protect the vital link in between.
‘‘Nor can we risk further lives to bushfire by trying to evacuate yet more people through the few narrow valleys, as evident in the massive wildfires of 2001.’’
Ms Watson acknowledged the proposal included the protection of vast tracts of land under an E2 Environmental Conservation zoning, but said pockets of less stringent zonings, which would allow limited development, were a step too far.
When the council first proposed the changes late last year a spokesman for the Helensburgh Land Pooling Group told the Advertiser it was a welcome move.
He said if the proposal got through members would be able to realise their long-held wishes to build on their blocks.
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said it was essential that all interested people and landowners acquaint themselves with the draft proposal.
Visit the council’s website or call 42277111 for more information.