Privatising a public reserve
Hunter developments proposal is just too large for Rosny Hill. When you add up the area required for buildings and infrastructure and the fire management zone that surrounds them, it will occupy and degrade more than 40% of the Rosny Hill Nature Recreation Area.
A development of this size will totally dominate the reserve and alienate most people who currently enjoy using the reserve for passive recreation and to get away from “developed” areas.
Most locals will simply not want to visit the reserve if the development is constructed.
If you do continue to visit the area surrounding the development it will be a much diminished experience: less bushland, 800 cars per day and people in accommodation looking at you.
Destruction of native vegetation
The development will result in a substantial area of eucalypt woodland and she oak forest being cleared. The area affect by the proposed development includes the car park and other cleared areas, but still around 25% of the reserve’s vegetation will be cleared or highly degraded.
Much of the effected vegetation will not be directly cleared to make way for the proposed buildings but it will be lost over time. The vegetation surrounding the buildings will be fragmented and degraded by construction activity and, over time, it will be further degraded by fire mitigation works and trampling by thousands of visitors.
We compared a map of the proposed development with a distribution map of the endangered Leafy sun orchid. About half of the orchid population will be destroyed to make way for the development. The Rosny Hill population is the largest known population in Tasmania and is the only Tasmanian population found in a formal reserve. To do this to a threatened species anywhere is outrageous but to do it in a reserve is just beyond words.
A history of inadequate community consultation
The Council has treated the local residents horribly as they seem desperate to force an unwanted development on an unwilling community.
In 2014 the Council initiated a process to identify a preferred developer for Rosny Hill without first asking the community whether they wanted any development on the hill or. if they wanted development, what type of size would be acceptable.
This approach to community consultation is dishonest as the community is not given a choice in the critical first step – the Council presumably hoped that the proposed development would be seen as a fait accompli.
This approach is unfair as the community is put in a position of being unequal with the developers, having to fight against a development proposal they don’t want rather than being involved in planning one that it and a developer might support.
In 2015 the Council picked Hunter Developments proposal, ignoring the fact that is contrary to the Rosny Hill Management Strategy and over-ridding the very thorough and informed community consultation that the strategy was built upon.
The Strategy states that ‘Any proposal for development would need to’ ‘be located within the development zone areas defined by council’ (Page 39-40) – these are two small areas corresponding to the existing car park and a degraded area to the north of it (each only a hectare or two).
The Council’s preferred development is ten times as large as these two areas.
By proceeding with a preferred developer who proposes a development much larger than the areas identified in the Strategy the Council is being grossly dishonest. The Strategy recommendation should be adhered to and any development restricted to the identified development zones.
In February 2016, 218 residents of Rosny and Montague Bay signed a letter to the Council calling for the Council to initiate a process to have Rosny Hill rezoned to limit all development to the two areas identified in the Strategy.
The Council refused to even put this issue on the agenda for discussion and most councillors to this day have refused to meet with concerned residents.
For four years the Clarence Council has been ignoring the community – it is now time for the Council to listen to what the community wants.
The Minister for Parks and Wildlife Service, Will Hodgman confirmed in a letter to the Rosny Hill Friends Network in June that the council can grant land owner consent for a development. Well if Council can grant consent it can refuse consent and it should do so immediately and put an end to this inappropriate over-size development.