BIRD HAVEN: The Lawrence wetland is a vital breeding spot for a number of species of water birds, as well as a drought refuge for inland species.
BIRD HAVEN: The Lawrence wetland is a vital breeding spot for a number of species of water birds, as well as a drought refuge for inland species. Terry Deefholts

Ecologist: Leave bird haven alone

CLARENCE Valley ecologist Greg Clancy has found flaws in a development application (DA) to create 35 residential lots on land near the Lawrence wetlands.

Dr Clancy said a number of birds that featured on Federal Government conservation legislation either bred or nested in the wetlands.

“They didn’t report cattle egret or eastern great egret. Both of those species are listed under the Federal Government legislation, and there are other species there that are listed,” Dr Clancy said.

“It may well be that this development needs to be forwarded to Peter Garrett (Environment Minister). And that needs to be investigated adequately in the report.”

Dr Clancy said the report did not adequately consider other aspects of the wetlands.

“The report is deficient in that it mentions there are a small number of breeding birds. It seems to underestimate the value of the site for breeding,” Dr Clancy said.

“They (Clarence Valley Council) were there in January. Most of the breeding is over by January. It’s spring and early summer that you get the thousands of birds nesting there.”

Dr Clancy said the number of lots was going to pose a problem, even with the introduction of sewerage and storm run-off controls. There would be problems with disturbance of the birds during construction and from the amount of traffic and lights coming from the houses.

He disagreed with Clarence Valley Council’s assessment that the Companion Animals Act would adequately control domestic animals such as dogs and cats.

He was also worried about the spread of garden plants as weeds into the wetlands.

He said the main deficiency of the plan was that it did not consider the proximity of the wetland to the development.

“It deals with it by saying that there is no wetland on the site and doesn’t really acknowledge the problems it will cause to the adjacent wetland,” he said.

Clarence Valley Council will not consider this application, said council development planner Pat Ridgway.

Instead, it will go before the newly formed Regional Planning Panel.

Mr Ridgway said this panel was a new State Government entity and would be made up of three Ministers and two councillors.

The closing date for objections to the DA is May 7.



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