Total Environment Centre has called for urgent state government intervention after a Sydney property developer was caught red-handed attempting to remove crucial evidence on the site of one of Sydney’s most environmentally damaging development proposals.
Local residents were alerted by the sounds of heavy machinery moving onto the Riverlands Golf Course Site in late September – the same place where over 400 trees were (allegedly) illegally cleared in August this year.
City of Canterbury-Bankstown Council officers were informed that evidence of the alleged illegal tree felling was being removed, but were unable to gain access. However, together with members of the local community, the council officers gained a view from the opposite bank of the Georges River which enabled them to witness an excavator and wood chipper operating at the site of the previous (allegedly illegal) clearing.
“The Riverlands Golf Course site is dear to many residents of Milperra and the subject of one of Sydney’s longest running environment protection campaigns,” said TEC Natural Areas Campaigner David Burgess.
“It is home to some of the largest hollow bearing trees remaining in urban Sydney with many dating back to pre-settlement. It contains environmentally significant wetlands. It provides a vital link with adjoining areas of bushland”.
In 2015 over 200 local residents turned up to demonstrate against the then Bankstown Council’s proposal to weaken environmental protection of Riverlands through a rezoning. A new rezoning proposal that would allow some development on the 33 hectare site but also protect large parts of it currently sits in front of the NSW Planning Minister.
“If recent media reports are any indication the NSW Department of Planning is set to reject any environmental protection proposed by Council for the site and give Demian Constructions and Statewide Planning the green light to establish a ‘mini-suburb’ at Riverlands.
“The value of Riverlands as green space cannot be overstated. The locals recognise this, Council recognises this, but Mike Baird’s government seems poised to unleash the bulldozers.”