It’s official and came as a surprise. The Scouts have agreed to sell the land to a developer who is proposing to build so -called “eco-tourism” accommodation on the site. The new owner outbid the local community’s offer, made through the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, by $25,000.
Scouts were unwilling to work with the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and the local community throughout the entire time they had the land listed with a real estate agent despite the Foundation contacting them in March asking them for an option to purchase and time to raise the money required for a purchase. The Spring Gully Protection Group regret that Scouts have acted in this manner and the media coverage received to date indicates that the Scouts behaviour is also being questioned in the broader community.
The successful bidder, a Maianbar resident, claimed in a media report today “I am not a developer. I am a local resident with a dream and I hope to make it come true.” The reality though is that successful bidder has admitted in talks with the Spring Gully Protection group that his proposal for an upmarket eco-tourism camping site would require clearing at least one hectare of the pristine bushland forest – equivalent to ten quarter acre blocks of land. Only 15% of the tree cover over the one hectare “asset protection zone” required by the building code for bushfire prone land would remain and most of the understory would be removed. The purchaser is also proposing to clear the bloodwood mallee along the southern boundary of the site. A planning consultant contacted by the community believes the size of the asset protection zone required is likely to be much larger that the amount the purchaser is stating. Make no mistake this will be a substantial development requiring establishing road access, car parking and all the services and buildings required by a camping ground. All on the most bushfire prone land adjoining the Bundeena township and all for just six camping tents accommodating twelve guests (the maximum number allowed on bushfire prone sites).
The fact that there already is a large and well equipped camping ground at Bonnie Vale, Bundeena, located on the sandy shores of the Port Hacking where kids can safely swim in the calm waters, seem to have been lost in the equation. The Spring Gully Protection Group suspect that the purchaser is attempting to push through road access to the block so that he can build a residence for his family. While we all want a place to call home the fact is that building on this pristine land will be at the expense of clearing at least one hectare of the forest for the required asset protection zone. That’s equivalent to ten quarter acre blocks of land and all just for a house and six tents.
The local community have expressed to the purchaser that they cannot support this unnecessary clearing of such a large area of forest yet he seems determined at this stage to push ahead with his development plans despite community objection.
The Spring Gully Protection Group are making urgent representations to the local member and the Minister for the Environment to intervene and prevent this madness before the damage is done.
What can you do? We urgently need you to write to our local representatives asking them to provide the leadership needed to stop this sale and we need you to inform them of whether you agree or disagree that clearing one hectare of pristine angophora forest and bloodwood mallee to create a “glamping” site is an acceptable outcome.
We have prepared two letters for you to print out and post. Download them from the how can help page.