Clarence Valley Independent

Caravan park operator and Council meet to discuss tree removal

The new owner of Woombah Woods Caravan Park has told the CV Independent he has agreed to cease removal of any more trees at the site until the matter of an existing development approval (DA) is clarified.

William Hu said workers had removed a number of trees (thought to be around 30 mature trees). Mr Hu said he estimated the area of tree removal represented approximately 20 percent of the area of trees on the site.

Mr Hu said that the clearing of the trees was to make way for new cabins and he was acting on advice from consultants who assured him a 1984 approval for development meant he did not require further council approval for the trees removal.

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) issued a notice “to cease any further works until at least Council completes necessary investigations and provides further advice”.

The removal of the trees (thought to be grey gum and tallow wood) was raised by the ‘Association of Iluka Residents’ (AIR) last Wednesday. President of AIR, Tony Belton claimed the trees were “a significant koala habitat” and that it was thought many of the trees may be around 100 years old.   

Mr Belton said the developer is claiming that a DA approval issued over thirty years ago is still relevant, but his argument surely is now invalid, as the science is now showing that koalas in Northern NSW are threatened and under great duress due to habitat removal, displacement and connectivity obstruction.

“It’s ironic that the major Pacific Highway upgrade being undertaken a mere one hundred meters away (from this caravan park) has had many kilometres of koala fencing and under road tunnels and grids to accommodate the recognised koala habitat and connectivity at Woombah. Possibly hundreds of thousands of Federal tax dollars have been spent on this infrastructure in and around Woombah as part of the highway upgrade. Surely this is contradictory policy in 2019,” he said.

Mr Hu said he was happy to work with Council and the community and has no intention of alienating anyone.

A meeting was scheduled between Mr Hu and CVC staff yesterday (Tuesday – after the CV Independent went to press).

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