On 12 June 2012 there was a workshop for Clarence Valley shire councillors on the matter of proposed staging of the Yamba Road Bypass and shortly afterwards Council’s own Civil & Corporate Committee met to decide on its recommendation to the forthcoming Ordinary Monthly Meeting of 26 June on this issue.
The first red flag which went up in the Yamba community was the realisation that councillors, residents and ratepayers were being inaccurately advised at the workshop and in business papers/minutes that there were only three endangered species in the path of the proposed road works – an unidentified orchid, the Grey Crowned Babbler and (very inaccurately) the Sugar Glider.
The second red flag was the discovery that a flora and fauna report (commissioned by Council in February 2012 which assessed possible negative environmental impacts along less than half of the Bypass stage under consideration) was not included as an attachment to any of the business papers.
By and large the Yamba community remained in the dark concerning this public document when a local resident made a deputation on 12 June.
To date the document continues to be unavailable for viewing on Council’s website and is not included as an attachment to the 26 June business paper.
The report clearly indicated that in the proposal before Council there were up to eight scheduled threatened species which may be impacted by land clearing associated with the Bypass route between Shores Drive and Deering Street alone.
It also properly identified the Squirrel Glider, Grey-Crowned Babbler and Scented Acronychia tree as being under particular threat by road construction in that area.
These species are respectively listed by the NSW Government as Vulnerable, Vulnerable and Threatened.
The Commonwealth also respectively lists these three species nationally as Vulnerable, Near Threatened and Threatened .
All in all the field survey revealed a total of 191 flora species, comprising 112 native species and 79 introduced species and Eight plants of significance were identified during the field survey including Umbrella Cheese Tree, Willow Primrose, Pink-flowered Doughwood, Scented Achronychia (also endangered), Queensland Silver Wattle, Zornia, Swamp Lilly and Narrow-leaved Cumbungi....
Results of a desktop search of the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Wildlife Atlas identified thirty two threatened fauna species as occurring within a five kilometre radius of the proposed activity site.
As matters now stand, next week Clarence Valley councillors will also be making further decisions concerning the Bypass between Shores Drive and Coldstream Street without any information on biodiversity values in the other half of this Bypass stage, which would have to pass through what appears to be forested Crown land.
In the interests of the openness and transparency which Clarence Valley Council’s Mayor, Executive and Management appear to have abandoned, here is a transcript of North Coast Environment Planning’s Flora and Fauna Report: Proposed Construction Freeburn Street to Yamba Road*.
Clarence Valley Council Flora and Fauna Report 14 March 2012
* I apologise for the fact that Page 4 Contents did not upload successfully.