Further to our letter of 13-7-2012 re Airport Reserve, and your response to that of 11-9-2012, we again express our concerns over the development proposal of LEDA/Sydney Metro Airports which is currently up for public comment.
It is clear from the development proposal, where a 200 metre long sliplane, a 60 metre wide entry into the airport precinct, and a bus bay at the western end, that it will have drastic impact on the reserve, which is state owned crown land open space zoned for recreation, and a vestige of the original County of Cumberland Green Belt.
As mentioned in our previous letter, Airport Reserve contains a significant remnant of Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest which is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community under the schedules of the Threatened Species Conservation Act. The significance of this site was recognised by the New South Wales Government Environmental Trust when it made Bankstown Bushland Society the recipient of a $43,588 grant in 1992 [Restoration of Swamp Woodland Remnants: Airport and Ashford Reserves, NSW Environmental Trust 92/RR/G23]. Subsequently the society has undertaken volunteer bush regeneration work in support of the grant. More recently, in 2013, the Society was awarded another $54,000 by the Environmental Trust to continue bush regeneration work at Airport and Ashford Reserves, work which is now well underway and due for completion next year.
Bankstown City Council has opposed previous plans by the Airport authority to acquire or access parts of Airport Reserve, and has in its Bushland Plan of Management: Reserves in Immediate Vicinity of Bankstown Airport, 2004 (p.16), recognised the conservation values of the site. In approving the Bushland Plan of Management in 2004 Council endorsed the policy of protecting the bushland in the reserve, as well as the “revegetation of the cleared area in east of Airport Reserve with Wetland Paperbark Swamp Woodland”, with the intention of putting 8,000 plants in the ground (PoM Appendix 8). I would point out the outstanding success of a BCC’s revegetation program that has been underway for several years on the adjacent Miperra Wetland site located at the south eastern corner of the intersection of Henry Lawson Drive and Milperra Road, which shows what could be achieved also at Airport Reserve.
We endorse Council’s Bushland Management Plan for Airport Reserve, and point out that neither LEDA or Bankstown Airport Limited own any part of the site. The LEDA plan will effectively annex the site for the purposes of development on the Airport precinct, destroying the integrity of the Open Space provision as a consequence. We believe that access to the development site should not go through Airport Reserve, but via the existing entry point at Tower Road off Henry Lawson Drive, and via the major entry point and internal road at Bunnings. The bus stop should also be located on the development site itself, within the airport precinct.
We therefore urge Council not to be a party to any plan to accommodate the damaging impacts mentioned, and requests that it put the case for maintaining the reserve in its present classification, supported by the objectives of the Bushland Management Plan, to the Minister for Planning.