Letters to the editor

PIC OF THE DAY: The Shoalhaven in all its beauty. Photo by Mark Fisher. Submit entries via nicolette.pickard@fairfaxmedia.com.au or Facebook or Instagram.
PIC OF THE DAY: The Shoalhaven in all its beauty. Photo by Mark Fisher. Submit entries via nicolette.pickard@fairfaxmedia.com.au or Facebook or Instagram.

Orchid record set straight

I write to inform many people of the real reasons for the withdrawal of the development application by Motorcycling NSW for its proposed Yerriyong development.

Initially, it was the noise from the facility of up to 12 hours per day and 363 days per year which would destroy the amenity of many nearby residents. This was followed by an environmental problem which became worse during the years of surveys by a “professional” company. The original two orchids became 22 and then increased but in ignorance of the law these were considered expendable. It was also obvious many supporters of the facility, including business people, failed to attend or contribute to the various hearings of the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP). If they had they would have learned that as a federally listed species the penalties for knowingly destroying a listed species is $7.5 million for a corporation and $750,000 for an individual.

Further to this is the fact that the “professionals” managed to record 22 plants, whereas the unqualified person/s recorded 96. Those who attended the JRPP hearings would also be aware that everything the “professionals” learned about the orchid and its insect pollinator came via an unqualified person and this also be verified by the admitted fact that the botanist and entomologists known to and quoted by the unqualified person were all contacted by the “professionals”. Two in Canberra, one in Orange and another in New Zealand. This writer is unqualified as was mentioned in a slanderous statement by a local politician, however this is only true as far as academic qualifications are concerned but when either the OEH, NPWS or Shoalhaven Council need to know anything about an orchid, I am the only person contacted because from 32 years of orchid related activity I have managed to learn a few things. One of these was to write a book, Orchid Species of the Shoalhaven, which has made me a point of contact to supply such information to numerous academically qualified persons and these persons expect information for free.

The local politician also mentioned a large sum of money I was allegedly given, however again this is incorrect as that money is for an OEH 10-year Save Our Species Program to which I provide my time, knowledge and fuel on a voluntary basis. Who now is making untrue statements and who is qualified?

In addition to the vulnerable species the “professionals” failed to record were four common species, all in flower at the same time as the vulnerable species. One of these species is a fixture in a tree, so no excuses for that failure and the method of survey used by the “professionals” requires the recording of all flora types and species, so this was yet another failure of knowledge and procedure.

To say an unqualified person/s stopped this development is factually incorrect, as federal legislation in the form of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 was the real reason. This legislation was introduced by Prime Minister John Howard with the support of his party, including the previous Member for Gilmore, and both should be proud of this. A dash of truth does not hurt but those who contributed, either for or against the development, should have been aware of these facts from the start. I would hope this will be the last time this matter is mentioned in public.

A. Stephenson, Nowra

Police station politics

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock’s latest interview beggars belief.

WIN News led by saying, “Police station for the Shoalhaven to be announced”. I sat patiently and listened as Mrs Hancock spoke and what was forthcoming was insulting.

Not my fault, she claimed, the police are the problem and the price of land in the Shoalhaven. The interview ended with a reference to an ambulance station that may be built before the next election.

May I suggest you have a meeting with our new premier and remind her of your many promises about this project?

B. Cumberland, North Nowra