Issues: Horse Centre at Galston
The equestrian facility DA came before council on Wednesday 17th August. Two councillors addressed the document itself, and two others joined them in voting against it. The remaining six seemed to be mainly concerned with the benefits of horse riding, and the lack of special facilities for horse riders. They voted in favour of the DA.
Initially, we opposed this proposal on five major counts:
OF THIS DA
Appropriate public consultation has been severely restricted because
of limited access to the reports (Supplementary Report NO PLN229/05
When available as at Hornsby Library - it is incomplete with at least
27 pages missing from a report of about 223 pages - that is over 10%
of the original document.
Pages from Appendix C (Plan of Management) and in appendix D (sustainable
water development control plan report) pages are unnumbered and the
text does not connect in the 4 pages available. Also the attachment
Appendix G (Waste management plan) is dark and utterly illegible.
Of the 14 Internal Referral Agencies (pp 6&7), 4 were not consulted,
including the Water Catchments Team. This team should have been consulted
to assess the impact on Berowra Creek in order to obtain proper data
on pollution potential.
The existing Pony Club plus the Council Depot site is approximately
the same size as the usable land at the Bayfield Road site minus setbacks.
Developing the Pony Club and Depot sites for horse riders would cost
about $4.5 million less than council proposes to spend on the Bayfield
Rd site. (Estimate in paper ENV82/02 tabled at council meeting on 13/11/2002.)
Regardless of the number of arguments for this proposal it is quite
excessive to spend $6million on a facility for 333 registered riders.
(ref: Strategic Leisure Plan of 2001).
9: The Section 94 Contributions Plan can be altered any time so the $5 million yet to be collected can be used for other purposes provided a link between need and population growth is established and the purpose is nominated in the amended plan.
The $1 million already in hand can be spent on other projects in the
same category, not just on an Equestrian facility.
Other vital school projects will be delayed by up to six years if the
Equestrian Centre is approved.
High insurance costs will preclude the public from using the facility.
The opinion of an auditor credentialed by the National Safety Council
of Australia with 50 years experience in risk management is that the
Equestrian Centre is high risk.
The idea that adjoining Councils do so much for their horse-riding community
is not substantiated by my enquiries. Baulkham Hills Council don't operate
anything and Kuringai only allow registered groups at St Ives Showground
- individual riders are not allowed for insurance purposes.
Council claim that private facilities are not designed to cater for
club or school activities or casual riding by the general public. I'll
tell you why - the high risk factor and ongoing insurance liability.
They are asking you to hang another long-term financial liability around
Council has not carried out a risk analysis and prepared and costed
an appropriate risk management plan.
Maintenance, Supervision and oversite of an appropriate risk management
plan will need two full-time equivalent staff. The ongoing recurrent
cost of operating the facility will be a net $200,000 as Council only
expects to collect $5,000 user fees.
Maintenance costs in the business plan will be impossible to achieve.
As an ex-turf farmer I do know how much it costs to maintain large grassed
Council are currently outlaying $20,000 per year unnecessarily at Fagan
Park as they have discounted the Equestrian Centre costs by this amount
as existing Fagan Park resources will be available.
How can Council say there are other similar facilities operating throughout
NSW? Where? What basis? What knowledge do the coucillors have of these?
doubtful that they have allocated a massive $6 million in capital and
exposed ratepayers to the ongoing risks Hornsby residents have to bear
knowing what this involves.
Why does council try to partly
justify this project and the destruction of agricultural potential of
the land unless they don't it to be used only for residential purposes?
The DA calls for the use of herbicides and pesticides to maintain landscaping.
It admits that some pollution will result, but labels it 'insignificant'.
There is no indication what this might mean. It should be spelt out.
We need to know, since piecemeal pollution can result in considerable
damage even over a short period of time. Indeed, council needs to adopt
a more scientific way of assessing chemical and waste pollution associated
with this proposal before it proceeds any further. At the same time,
the use of non-chemical means of pest control must be seriously investigated.
Pollution from the proposed introduction of more animals into the Catchment
area would come mainly from their fæces and urine. The horses
alone that, on the DA's predictions, would use the facility each year
would produce something like 25,580 litres of urine and 64,050 kgs of
fæces. The DA proposes bins to collect fæces,
yet there is no stated plan for monitoring and enforcing the collection
of horse droppings by riders. The planned holding ponds could not cope
with filtering out the potassium and phosphates from such a quantity
of urine, which would then percolate into the surrounding waterways
- all of which eventually empty into Berowra Creek.
25: Council is supposed to be committed to improving the environment, not degrading it.
Even more alarming is the destruction of part of an endangered plant
colony, a Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remnant that stands in the
way of the road-widening proposed
in council's amended
Concerning the Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest, this is listed as
an endangered ecological community in the Threatened Species Conservation
Act 1998. All remnants are considered to be significant. The STIF
Community is critically endangered, and there's now less than
0.75% of it left in NSW (NPWS 2002). It will become extinct in nature
unless the factors threatening its survival cease to exist. One such
factor is this DA, since part of this particular remnant of the Forest
stands in the way of the proposed widening of Bayfield Rd, with up to
10 (ten) trees marked out for felling. These include a Grey Gum (Eucalyptus
punctata), favoured food of koalas, which is about 70 feet tall
and a yard or more in girth. Planting even a thousand saplings of the
same species could never compensate for destroying a creature that has
taken between 200 and 400 years to reach its present height. Every scrap
of this forest remnant must be preserved. Whittling away at it as proposed
is precisely the reason it has become critically endangered.
A number of threatened fauna species are also known to live in the area.
They are left unidentified in the DA, instead of being identified and
assessed in a proper Species Impact Statement. To the best of
my knowledge, amongst them would be the Powerful Owl, Ringed-Tailed
Possum, and a variety of small Bats. The DA needs an exhaustive fauna
list to justify the peremptory label "not significant". There's
no indication of what is and what isn't 'significant', or why. We and
the councillors need these data before we can make up our minds in an
informed and intelligent way.
DA acknowledges that removal of any of this forest remnant would affect
the foraging - and nesting - requirements of the endangered fauna, yet
fails to produce any data to account for its dismissive treatment of
them. The recorded scratch marks on the trees in the Turpentine-Ironbark
Forest should have been scientifically investigated and the fauna that
produced them properly identified. As it is, we don't know whether or
not koalas are involved.
30: The whittling away of this critically endangered forest remnant today is on a par with the reckless behaviour that led to the extinction of the thylacine sixty years ago. We must resile from this behavioiur now, not later on when it's too late.
We residents of the 'Bushland Shire' refuse to connive in killing off
endangered fauna and destroying their fragile habitat.
33: No matter how many arguments might be adduced for your equine proposal, it is outrageous for you to spend $6 million of our money on a facility for 333 registered riders (ref: Strategic Leisure Plan of 2001), and thereby assist in turning our 'Bushland' Shire into a 'Wasteland' Shire.
Councillors did not respond to these objections.
Use as much as you wish of the above, along with your own comments, to compose an e-mail and then send it off to council. If you feel really active, send each councillor a snail-mail copy, too. You can get their addresses from the council web site.
SOME OF THE CAMPAIGN LITERATURE
a councillor say there's a petition from 3,000 horse riders in the Shire
supporting the proposed horse centre? Here's the petition, it's contents
Have your say!
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