Proposed Zoning Changes DLEP 2002
December, 2003

There are another 15 localities of conservation significance where the rezoning is still to be decided.

St Columba's Site, Springwood

The St Columba's site is an important cultural, Aboriginal archaeological and natural heritage site. It is located at the head of the important Blue Gum Swamp which flows into the World Heritage National Park. The provisions that Blue Mountains City Council has proposed in DLEP2002 for this site, if formally approved, will result in one of the greatest victories for the environment and conservation movement in the Blue Mountains.

Councillors have recommended an extension of the Environmental Protection zone to cover all uncleared bushland. This will protect most of the existing bushland which is essential to the conservation of two important sub-catchments: the eastern side of the site drains to Blue Gum Swamp Creek and the western side flows into the Grose River. This western side has already been identified by the NSW Government as a 'conservation sub-catchment' for special protection as part of its policy to improve the health of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River.

The St Columba's property contains 55 recorded Aboriginal archeological sites with potential for many more. The area of uncleared bushland being recommended for EP zoning contains two archeological Aboriginal open campsites.

The proposal on display will allow for some increase in development in the existing cleared area. This allows for private recreation and associated land uses and facilities for the community. It will also allow for self supporting accessible housing for the aged and those with a disability. Further educational facilities or a conference centre may be possible.

This is by far a preferable option than any other being proposed. The alternative was to allow for 12 hectares of residential development, a significant proportion of which would have involved clearing the bushland in this important Middle Nepean catchment.
It is vital to secure this land for its natural, Aboriginal and cultural heritage values. It is important that members support this proposal. Without your support we fear that this precious land could become part of the urban sprawl.

Bulldozed Bushland for Asset Protection Zones
Bulldozing huge swathes of bushland to bare earth around new developments is sadly a common occurrence. The excuse for this is to create an "Asset Protection Zone" and the reason, that it is cheap to use the bulldozer whilst it's there to dig the footings.
Bulldozing for bushfire protection is destructive and unnecessary. Neither the State Government or RFS recommend earthworks to provide bushfire protection. The NSW guideline called 'Planning for Bushfire Protection' recommends that Local Environment Plans include clauses that specify that site disturbance should be minimised. It also suggests specifying that work should "be carried out by hand with trees being felled rather than pushed over". (refer to Appendix 1 clause 2.1.4)

DLEP 2002 offers an opportunity to stop this practice of bulldozing to bare earth. The draft proposals are good but don't go far enough. A clear statement is needed to specify which methods of hazard reduction are not permissible. This is necessary to allow Council to stop this practice of bulldozing.

Other issues
The protection of watercourses, slopes or sensitive vegetation is involved in the other 15 locations we are investigating. Your submission could make a difference
The Society is compiling a submission but this only carries the weight of a submission from one resident. We need all our members to write. You are urged to make your own written submissions. If you need further information to write your letter contact Lyndal Sullivan 4782 1635 or email
There is not much time. The closing date for comments is 10th December. Letters should be entitled "DLEP 2002 - Exhibition of Deferred Matters" and mailed to the General Manager, Blue Mountains City Council, Locked Bag, Katoomba 2780 or emailed to