Club packed with 400 opponents of Anson St development

OUT IN FORCE: St Georges Basin Country Club host to a Land and Environment Court conciliation on Thursday. Picture: Rebecca Fist
OUT IN FORCE: St Georges Basin Country Club host to a Land and Environment Court conciliation on Thursday. Picture: Rebecca Fist

The last of five speakers made an emotional plea to the Land and Environment Court panel, met with a standing ovation by the crowd of 400 residents, who had been asked not to clap on Thursday morning.

Anson Street resident Ashley Hale told the panel of the distress and heartache the four-storey development proposal has caused.

“In your heart you must know it’s wrong on every level,” he said.

He raised the issue of inundating the area with an extra thousand residents, meaning more cars on the road and kids in schools.

“Will the school keep packing demountables onto the playground where the kids should be playing?” Mr Hale said.

“Think of the blackouts – the energy grid can’t cope already, and the sewage system is at capacity.

“Years ago my friend buried his two-year-old who died on the Island Point Road intersection.”

Mr Hale said he was concerned the building would become an enclave for the unemployed and drug addictions due to the area’s high youth unemployment levels and lack of public transport.

“My daughter walks past the block every day,” Mr Hale said.

“Who’s going to protect the children?”

Mr Hale said though there had been 300 submissions to Shoalhaven City Council, the entire town was opposed to the development.

“We don’t know of a single person who supports it,” he said.

“Please do not let this happen.

“My children love to swim in St Georges Basin.

“The developer has proven he has zero regard for the environment when he cleared the land, and runoff was flushed into the waterways.

“Families deserve better than a polluted waterway all because of the greed of one developer.”

St Georges Basin resident Maureen Webb argued against the proposal from an environmental standpoint.

Mrs Webb said the developer would need to remove 90,000 cubic metres of clay, and pointed to environmental protection guidelines.

“If the development is likely to discharge untreated sediment stormwater, consent should not be granted,” she said.

“It is likely, given the actions of owner, at least three times the owner treated the land with contempt during clearing, we’re all appalled by his actions.”

She pointed out it takes 80 days to exchange basin water with sea water.

“The basin is not only beautiful, it contains large areas of sea grass, mangroves, salt water wetlands including rare plants and animal species, and at least 12 endangered animal species,” Mrs Webb said.

It was hard to ignore the importance of the issue to the local community, that turned out in great force on Thursday.

“There are more people opposed to this development on a pro-rata basis than any other development in NSW,” speaker Philip Blackman said.

He argued there was no need for 380 apartments in a suburb of houses.

“On average there are eight homes sold per month in the area,” he said.

“This does not bode well for the developer.”

Mayor Amanda Findley spoke on behalf of Rebecca Rudd.

“In the Shoalhaven there is no other development that exists like this, it’s out of context even in Nowra,” she said.