For a while now the criticism of those fighting for their local environment is that they are just part of the Nimby push (Not in My Backyard) but with this Port Macquarie Council “Orbital Road” project I think this criticism could well change to Nimbh - Not in My Bloody House.
I went to one of the PMHC Orbital Road information sessions the other day and asked the engineer present how many houses might be affected and he replied 30. I was aghast at this and rang council to see if it might really be that many.
I found that actually there are five possible routes with 31, 50, 50, 44 or 31 properties to be “acquired” depending on further study. The Port News has suggested 470 within the corridor.
I presume there are not many councillors or engineers affected by these possible resumptions.
Already the local member has pointed out that “orbital” infers a certain amount of “going around” however this will impact on high conservation value environment. Not least of which is Lake Innes Nature Reserve, which will require an act of parliament for approval of some land to be revoked.
PMHC have done a preliminary desktop study and identified, as required, likely impacted species including three threatened sharks and a whale or two.
Unfortunately nobody drove up the hill to Fernhill where the above flood level access to the airport is planned to ask the koalas what they thought.
The community were rather cross and paid for their own ecologist whose opinion posted on their Save Fernhill Port Macquarie website reads:
“It is clearly evident that there is a significant breeding population of Koalas in the Fernhill area. The retained vegetation within the resident properties provides high quality foraging habitat with a low level of threats. In my opinion this habitat must be afforded protection from development and offsetting should not be considered as an option.”
And that is just in a developed area.
The Koala Roundtable convened at council together with ecologists concluded in their recommendations - Don’t Make Bad Decisions.
If the Orbital Road deviates away from the affected ratepayers homes it will of course impact the homes of many wild creatures. The potential list includes 3 Threatened Ecological Communities, 54 Listed Threatened Species, and 66 Migratory Species.
I just wonder if instead of consulting road engineers who love straight lines, if our local Charles Sturt University might have some less painful ideas about moving people around.
Port Macquarie, for the North Coast Environment Council