Tuesday, May 26, 2009


All are invited to a planting day at Seven Mile Beach (Northern end near Seven Mile Beach Kiosk) on Thursday 2nd July. A thousand native trees will hopefully be planted by all who are willing!! If you think you would like to help, contact Megan Rowlatt on 4229 7526 or Grant Merinuk on 0428 274 500. 

The regular working bees are also held on the 4th Sunday of the Month, and we meet at 9am at the Kiosk

Hope to see you there!

Erin Lake

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Howard H

Contrary to claims on the Cleary Bros website at www.clearybros.com.au the Land and Environment Court upheld the GEPS appeal against their Part 3A quarry application. See excerpt from LEC appeal judgement below.




10801 OF 2007



1 HIS HONOUR: On 16 May 2008, I delivered judgment indicating that approval to the proposed extracting and processing operations ought to be granted, however, the conditions of approval needed to be revised to take account of the findings in the judgment: Gerroa Environment Protection Society Inc v Minister for Planning and Cleary Bros (Bombo) Pty Ltd [2008] NSWLEC 173. Directions were made for revising the conditions.
2 Although agreement was reached between the parties on a number of matters, it was necessary to hold a hearing on the disputed conditions. This hearing occurred first on 13 August 2008 with a further hearing held on 25 August 2008. I gave rulings ex tempore on each dispute condition on each occasion.
3 These rulings necessitated further revision of the conditions of the Landscape and Rehabilitation Management Plan. This further revision of both documents has now been completed. The final documents, being the consolidated conditions of approval dated 25 August 2008 and the Landscape and Rehabilitation Management Plan dated 20 August 2008 prepared by Kevin Mills & Associates, have been accepted by all parties as being in accordance with my judgment on 16 May 2008 and subsequent rulings of 13 and 25 August 2008.
4 I provided a draft of the proposed orders to the parties for correction of facts or other comment. Both Cleary Bros and the Minister for Planning submitted that the proposed first order, namely that the appeal is upheld, may have the potential to convey an incorrect perception of the decision of the Court and they suggested instead ordering that the appeal is dismissed. Cleary Bros also, correctly, pointed out the typographical error in the proposed second order which referred to “development consent” instead of “approval” which is the correct term for authorisations under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Otherwise, the draft orders were accepted. GEPS did not object to the draft orders.
5 In my opinion, it is preferable to refer to the appeal as being upheld than dismissed. It is true that the appeal is a third party, objector appeal against the decision of the Minister for Planning to approve the project and that GEPS’s primary case was that the Court should refuse approval but that the Court determined instead that approval should be granted. However, by the conclusion of the hearing, the project had been modified by Cleary Bros in material respects from that which was approved by the Minister and it would be further modified by the conditions of approval to be imposed by the Court.
6 The project to be approved by the Court on the conditions proposed by the Court, therefore, will be different in material aspects from the project approved by the Minister on the Minister’s conditions. In order to approve this different project, it is necessary for the appeal to be upheld. A dismissal of the appeal would have the effect of reinstating the Minister’s decision – a result which would not accord with the Court’s decision. Accordingly, the appropriate order is that the appeal is upheld. Otherwise, the proposed orders are agreed with the correction in order 2 to refer to approval.
7 I note in Condition 21(b) in Schedule 3 of the conditions there is a reference to “the draft Landscape Rehabilitation Management Plan, dated 20 August 2008 prepared by Kevin Mills & Associates and accepted by the Land and Environment Court as appropriate”. For the avoidance of doubt in the future, I have endorsed on copies of the Landscape Rehabilitation Management Plan dated 20 August 2008 the words “Plan accepted by the Court as appropriate” and signed and dated the Plan.
8 Accordingly, the Court orders:

1. The appeal is upheld.

2. Approval is granted to application 05/0099 for extraction and processing operations on land comprising Lot A DP 185785 and part of the land in Certificate of Title Vol 5841 Folio 139 subject to the conditions in Annexure A.

3. Exhibits may be returned.




10801 OF 2007


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

letter to Minister re Part 3A Tourist Facility & Golf Course for information and comment

Howard H

Gerroa Environmental Protection Society
letter to Minister re Part 3A Tourist Facility & Golf Course for information and comment 

The Hon. Kristina Keneally MP
Minister for Planning
Governor Macquarie Tower
Level 35, 1 Farrer Place, 

I am writing in relation to the Part 3A Major Projects Tourist Facility and Golf Course, Gerroa (MP 05_0031) application.
The Gerroa Environmental Protection Society is concerned about the inadequacy of the Director General’s Requirements and the assessment process being applied to this application.
We have three main concerns:
1. The Director Generals Requirements do not take climate related sea level rises into consideration.
2. The Concept Application is out of date and should be redesigned and resubmitted.
3. The community consultation process is non-existent and has been confused with the adjoining Sand Quarry Part 3A application.
This proposed development is situated in a coastal wetland ecosystem complex. Most of the site lies at sea level within Foys Swamp behind Seven Mile Beach. The 460hectare Coomonderry and Foys Swamp ecosystems form the largest coastal freshwater wetland complex in NSW. Coomonderry Swamp alone represents over 90% of this ecosystem type on the south coast and over 40% of its type in the state. The adjoining 194hectare Foys Swamp has been cleared and modified. However it’s soil profile remains intact and it retains much of its wetland hydrological function in addition to regulating water flow and quality in the Crooked River - Seven Mile Beach catchment.
The Crooked River Estuary Management Plan recognises Foys Swamp’s importance. It states, "Identify Foys Swamp as a significant freshwater wetland worthy of conservation."

1. The Director Generals Requirements do not take climate related sea level rises into consideration.

There are no Director General Requirements to consider sea level rises in the assessment of this application. This is a serious omission given the Federal and State Government’s recognition of impending impacts of future sea level rises on coastal development and the particular location of this development.
This development site lies on a flood plain, which is generally at sea level and within 800 metres of the sea. Foys Swamp has always had regular inundations of water, which floods over large parts of the development site for weeks at a time. Blue Angle creek connects the swamp with the Crooked River and the sea. Currently high tide water levels peak in Blue Angle creek on the edge of the development site.
The application proposes to fill about half of Foys Swamp with 400,000 cubic metres of sand, rock and clay. Under current sea level conditions this may reduce its flood mitigation capability and, after extreme rainfall, intensify water flows and increase erosion and flooding down Blue Angle Creek and Crooked River. However it’s unknown what hydrological impacts higher sea levels would have at high tide under such flood conditions. Such impacts will not be assessed under the current Director General’s Assessment Requirements.
Government Adviser Professor Will Steffen from the ANU recently told the Coast to Coast 08 Conference that “the speed at which the climate is changing has been significantly underestimated.” He stated that a “0.5 metres sea level rise is a certainty, a rise of 1 to 1.5 metres is more likely, while a rise of up to 4 metres this century is a possibility.”
The 2007 D.E.C.C. document entitled ‘Practical Considerations of Climate Change’ provides a cautious response to the lower end of Professor Steffens estimates and acknowledges that sea level rise may be significantly higher.
It is clear that sea level rise will have a serious impact on this development. Even a conservative approach to planning would need to account for impacts arising from a 1 to 1.5 metre rise, which Professor Steffen has said is “most likely.” In addition, impacts relating to the equally plausible rise of up to 4m need to be considered especially given the topography of the catchment, and the direct link to the ocean.
It is quite surprising that no requirement to consider sea level rises has been included in the DG’s Requirements for this application given the location of the development. We request that a requirement relating to assessment of such impacts be included in the DG Requirements, so that considerations of rising sea levels can be taken into account in the assessment.
2. The Concept Plan proposal is out of date and should be redesigned and resubmitted.
The recent Gerroa Sand Quarry Land and Environment Court (LEC) determination has impacted in a number of significant ways on this adjoining Tourist application. Access roads, golf fairways, (no's 16,17 and 18) the clubhouse and virtually all the tourist villas will have to be relocated as they now fall within the conservation area set aside by the court. Also, since the application was lodged additional hotel rooms and other facilities have been included in the project proposal. There is no way that an assessment could be made without consideration of the new location of these facilities and their impacts on the new conservation areas. There needs to be a transparent process informing the public about the changed nature of the application considering the significance of these changes.
3. The community consultation process is non-existent and has been confused with the adjoining Sand Quarry Part 3A application.

The development company held a number of inadequate public consultations, which were largely related to their adjoining sand quarry Part 3A application. There has been no specific consultation process concerning this Golf Resort application. This has led to public confusion and uncertainty about what is proposed. Also, as the application will have to be significantly redesigned, there needs to be a transparent public consultation process, which informs about these changes. We request that the development company be required to embark on a new public consultation process specifically focusing on this application which informs the public about the new form of the proposal. 
There is a considerable amount of disenchantment among the Gerroa/Gerringong/Kiama communities about the distance from and lack of accountability to local communities of this Part 3A assessment process. This community has recently witnessed just how poor the Part 3A assessment process can be when their appeal to the LEC against the Minister's decision in the Gerroa Sand Quarry case was upheld.
We strongly urge that the Minister and Department of Planning engage meaningfully with the community about this development application and keep them fully informed about the relevance of the Director General’s assessment requirements, the transparency and efficiency of the assessment processes and meaningfulness of the consultation processes.

Howard H Jones 

Secretary of Gerroa Environmental Protection Society

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Seven Mile Beach Landcare Group

A new Landcare group has formed to help with restoration of the dunes at the northern end of Seven Mile Beach. Priorities include weeding of Asparagus Fern and re-establishment of natives in degraded patches. If you would like to participate in this group please register your interest with Landcare Illawarra (contact Megan Rowlatt: mrowlatt@conservationvolunteers.com.au).  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Proposed Golf Resort Subdivision?

Why a Golf Resort Subdivision is bad for Seven Mile Beach:
What is proposed is not just a tourist hotel. This is a community-title subdivision.
part of the golf course falls within an established conservation zone.
villas will be constructed in a previously rehabilitated vegetation and wetlandsite, which is a habitat for the endangered Green and Gold Bell Frog
400,000 cubic metres of fill will be dumped in Foys Swamp to build the golf course.
it will add to the cumulative loss of biodiversity and habitat.
it will significantly change the natural character of the area.
This Golf Resort proposal is still being developed and it will go on exhibition at a later stage.


GEPS Court Report

GEPS appealed Minister Sartor's Part 3A approval of the Gerroa Sand Quarry at Seven Mile Beach.The appeal decision by Chief Justice Preston of the land and Environment Court was handed down on Friday 16th May. For a brief report on our appeal click the link below


Coastcare Week 2008

National Coastcare week is on from December 1-7! Celebrate by attending your local Coastcare/Dunecare meeting and joining in the fun :)

Gerringong Dunecare meets at the Werri Beach Progress Hall on the fist Saturday of the month at 9am.

This year, Coastcare Week is being used to launch 'Life on the Edge', a major fundraising and awareness campaign that will run over the entire summer. Check out the Coastcare link for more details.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Watch This Space!