Development threatens vulnerable species
By JURIS GRANEY
A YAMBA development is set to plough through a former freshwater wetland region, all but signalling the end to its native inhabitants.
A private environmental consultant took 45 minutes to identify more than 80 different species of fauna on the six-hectare site on Park Avenue, with five listed on the threatened species list.
Of major concern for the consultant was the discovery of the Wallum Froglet, believed to inhabit the region.
"We know they are there," said the consultant, who did not wish to be named.
"It is on the threatened species list and that is enough, by law, to stop the development and have it properly assessed."
The Froglet is a cousin of the Wallum Tree Frog which has stopped developments in the coastal town of Kingscliff in Far Northern NSW and halted the progress of the Tugun Bypass for many months.
Although not an endangered species like its cousin, the Froglet, also known as a Tinkling Frog, was placed on the National Parks and Wildlife threatened species list because of 'severe' population reduction and its dependence on 'specific diet and habitat'.
"I am afraid that we are just going to have to lump it because it has been approved and there is not much more we can do about it," the consultant said.
"These frogs are very sensitive to any types of change and with a development like this they will just disappear.
"There are other species of animals that I have identified on that site will do the same, disappear."
Neighbours and active campaigners against the development of the acid paperbark and sedge swamp habitat of the frog and other threatened species, Joan Grodzki and Celeste Warren, said they were bitterly disappointed.
"We are just two smalltown women trying to do the right thing for our envi- ronment," Mrs Grodzki said.
Mrs Grodzki contacted the company behind the development, Sydney-based Parkes (Menai) Development, to try and reason with them. They even sent off a petition with more than 200 signatures to see if they could put their case to the company.
"I know that you can't stop progress, but all we want is to save a piece of land so that maybe, the wildlife can survive," she said.
"But up until now the company hasn't given us a response and seem bent on doing what they like despite the harm they will cause."
Parkes (Menai) Development spokesman Nick Ryko said the company hired its own consultants, D and D Environmental Consultant, which prepared a report on the site.
"We had our consultant on-site to check our clearing and to make sure all that could be done to minimise the impact of clearing was done," Mr Ryko said.
"We will continue to monitor and protect any wildlife during the course of the project.
"We have not been provided with the 'private' (consultant) report and cannot comment on it ... (but) our consultant was not able to identify the Froglet on site."