Resident asks why report was not made public

NORTH Nowra woman Jenny Rich paid $36.97 to gain access to Shoalhaven City Council’s Review of Environmental Factors [REF] report into the proposed clearing of Gerroa Road.

She applied to council on Thursday to get the report, which was granted on Friday, but questioned why it hadn’t been made available to members of the public before the work started.

“I would like to know if this report was made available to councillors before they made their decisions to approve the clearing,” she said.

“Interestingly, the date on the report is February 14 and there is an addendum report dated February 20 – the work started on February 17.

“Council says it has consulted with the public but nowhere did it say in any of their media releases that 145 trees would be removed along the length of the roadway.

“They mentioned the Bum Tree but there was nothing about 145 other trees being removed.

“I certainly didn’t know the severity of the work.”

She said she attended a meeting at the location on the day the works started on February 17 and was so shocked when told of the extent of the work that she drove straight back to Nowra and attempted to see Mayor Joanna Gash.

“I was told the mayor wasn’t available but met Deputy Mayor [John] Wells and he was very unwilling and uninterested in my views,” she said.

“I then wrote a submission to the mayor regarding the work and asked that it be forwarded to all the councillors as well and have heard nothing – none of them have contacted me.

“It’s not a great way for a council to operate – councillors or staff.”

The Gerroa Environmental Protection Society, which is driving the protest against council’s removal of vegetation along Gerroa Road, including the Bum Tree, has also been critical of Shoalhaven City Council for failing to make an environmental report available.

GEPS secretary Howard H Jones said he had asked for a copy of the REF prepared by council earlier last week, while he knows of at least one other application for the report.

“We haven’t been told of any reason why we can’t get the report,” Mr Jones said.

“I know another person applied to receive the report a week ago, but had received nothing.”

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