Kogarah City plan ‘may not be legal’
By Maria Galinovic, April 25, 2015
What about the flora and fauna: John McCarthy, a lawyer, thinks Kogarah’s new city plan could be invalid because there is no biodiversity plan. Picture: Jane Dyson
RESIDENTS opposed to Kogarah Council’s new plan for the city, which is now on public exhibition, have been given some hope the plan could be declared invalid.Environmental lawyer John McCarthy, of Blakehurst, said the council’s new city plan, which proposes increased densities in many parts of Kogarah, was not valid because the council had no current biodiversity management plan.
Mr McCarthy said the council should have had such a plan in place before it set out to make changes to its local environmental plan (LEP) and alter the face of Kogarah.
“The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act requires a biodiversity plan — Sutherland has one and many councils have them,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Kogarah Council should comply with the law like everyone else.”
Mr McCarthy said he had asked the council for its biodiversity plan and was given two reports — a flora study dated 2009 and a fauna study dated 2012 — both of which referred to another report compiled in 1998.
“Both are too old for a 2015 LEP,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Kogarah has no biodiversity plan — there should be one single document.”
Mr McCarthy said while he was concerned about the effects of increased density and high-rise at Kogarah, his motivation was to make sure the natural environment was preserved, especially in the Kyle Bay area.
“The reasoning is simple, as the National Parks and Wildlife Service atlas search I did last year indicated up to 70 threatened species reside within a 10-kilometre area of that site,” Mr McCarthy said.
“Also the red-crowned toadlet, a threatened species, lives on that site.”
The council said the plan, on exhibition until May 29, was about meeting the needs of a growing population and changing demographics — and meeting the state government requirements for accommodating population growth for the next 20 years.
If adopted, parts of Kogarah will have developments of five to 12 storeys and some foreshore areas will be built on.
A number of community organisations have joined forces under the kogarah.org banner to fight what they see as overdevelopment without a matching infrastructure.
Greens member Brent Heber said: “. . . What is being done to plan for the increasing population density in terms of demand on childcare, electricity, communications, water, sewerage, hospital beds, schools and emergency services?”
A council spokeswoman said Mr McCarthy should “make a submission to the exhibition, which will be addressed in the report to council on matters raised through the exhibition”.
Is it ok to sacrifice wildlife areas for development?