Environmental issues on the Central Coast

Development on the eastern side of the freeway / motorway / M1 is primarily an issue of local importance, however, the following general points are made:

  • New roads or development should be no closer than 50 M from the riverside and should not impact on Mangroves;
  • Block sizes should conform to Council's present standards rather than being of undersized and similar to the lot sizes of 1914 "Hawkesbury River Camping Lots Estate",
  • No development on the Tank Hill due to the steepness of the land, good quality vegetation and need to maintain the aesthetics from the freeway / motorway / M1

Development on Western Side of Freeway is an issue of National Importance due to Iconic Landscape and as entry point to Sydney and the Central Coast.

  1. Maximise public use of the whole area (including Peat Island) for recreation, amenity and access to Hawkesbury
  2. Existing aesthetic  maintained (this includes views from Motorway and surrounding NPWS Estate);
  3. Any development to be non- intrusive of Iconic Landscape;
  4. The heritage values of Peat Island be maintained and enhanced

It is envisaged that the best way of achieving these objectives for the Western Side of the Freeway is by the establishment of a Peats Island Trust (similar to the Sydney Harbour Trust).

Visualise the Drive south to Sydney:

Driving south on the M1 (formerly F3 Freeway) Motorway towards Sydney as you approach Tuggerah, the natural bushland of Ourimbah State Forest and Jilliby State Conservation Area are entered. To the south east is Strickland State Forest. As the road rises to the plateau, there are views of distant hills and waterways. This is Brisbane Waters National Park with the views being of distant Dahrug and Popran National Parks. The road snakes along the plateau past Girrakool and Kariong and then down into the magnificent sweep of Mooney Mooney Creek Bridge.

At the top of the hill is Somersby, surrounded by Brisbane Waters National Park. Little does the driver or passengers realise they are surrounded by Hanging Swamps and Aboriginal Carvings to rival Kakadu. Along the plateau to Mount White the road then begins a gradual decent into the Hawkesbury Valley. Again distant views of mountains and occasional waterways are to be seen. This includes parts of Popran and Marramarra National Parks. As we approach the Hawkesbury Bridge, to the left is Tank Hill where the NSW Government plans to build housing.


Tank Hill to be covered in Houses

From the bridge you can see Spectacle Island and Long Island Nature Reserves to the east with Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park in the background. To the west is Muogamurra Nature Reserve which is open for a restricted period in late winter and spring for the spectacular displays of wildflowers. From the bridge looking west is Peat Island a disused hospital. The landscape is otherwise untouched since European settlement. A magical Iconic Landscape enjoyed by 100,000 people (75,00 vehicles) driving along the motorway each day.

The NSW Government has plans to interrupt this experience by allowing 450 houses, a shopping centre and service centre to be build on 40 Ha. of disused hospital land at Mooney Mooney and Peat Island. This commercialisation will mean that the view to the west will be one of houses and a shopping centre.

 Peats-from-Freeway-2014-018-700  F3-highway-photos-2014-008-700
Crossing the Bridge Now Crossing the Bridge After

Sound barriers will be needed each side of the highway and across the Hawkesbury bridge to control the noise impact on new homes. Gone will be the view from the Hawkesbury Bridge. The view north will also be interrupted by houses on the bottom half of Tank Hill at Mooney.

Continuing our journey south towards Sydney, we climb the hill towards Berowra and Hornsby. Ku-ring-gai Chase lies to the east and Berowra Valley Regional Park to the west. At Wahroonga the highway ends, a total distance of nearly 70 kilometres in natural bushland and grand scenery. A unique Australian landscape, like no other, on the edge of our largest city. It gives over 100,000 people travelling the highway each day over one hour of enjoyment of beautiful landscape and nature. No servos, no signs and no houses.

In comparison the Great Ocean Road is 4 times longer and the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachians is 700 kilometres long. But neither of these has 100,000 people traversing it each day for over 70 kilometres. A great experience of nature for everyone including commuters and tourists.

The Hawkesbury Valley and Peat Island is an Iconic Landscape and one which must be protected from exploitation. Locals propose that the old Hospital land be used to enable better access to the river, community use and public recreation. Facilities for everyone, not just a few waterfront weekenders for the rich as proposed.

Peat Is from Muogamarra

The View from Muggamurra Nature Reserve

Current Status of Rezoning:

The following information is forwarded:

  • Councillors and the Executive Leadership Team were provided with a briefing by NSW Government Property on 15 July 2014. This was the first time Council were provided any detail beyond the information publically released through previous consultation events over the past year(s);
  • Council raised a number of concerns and issues with the proposal during this meeting and encouraged NSW Government Property to undertake community consultation prior to submission of the Planning Proposal;
  • The Planning Proposal was formally submitted to Council on Tuesday 12 August 2014;
  • The Planning Proposal  has been placed onto Councils’ webpage for the information of the public on Monday 18 August 2014.

To acces the documents please use the following link:


NOTE: The document is not currently on exhibition as community consultation will occur should Council (and the NSW Department of Planning &  Environment) support the proposal.

  • Council officers are yet to commence assessment of the Planning Proposal. It is likely to take a number of months for Council to complete the initial assessment process;
  • The Planning Proposal will be assessed on its merits. The assessment involves a review of the Planning Proposal against the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979, Local and Regional environmental planning instruments and other legislation, together with input from technical staff (i.e. traffic, flood, ecology, vegetation, social impacts etc);
  • Once staff have completed their assessment a report will be submitted to Council. The timing of this report will only be known a week or so prior to being considered by Council. However, the report will be made publically available via Councils’ website and Councils’ Business Papers. Notification will be sent to the Lower Hawkesbury Estuary Management Committee and Hornsby Shire Council;
  • The Director of Governance & Planning’s’ report to Council will recommend to refuse or support the proposal. Staff are also able to recommend studies which should be required and stakeholders who should be consulted. If supported by Council the recommendations will be provided to the NSW Department of Planning & Environment requesting a Gateway determination;
  • Anyone is able to speak in favour of or against a recommendation contained within the report to Council;
  • Gateway — The Minister (or delegate) determines whether the planning proposal is to proceed. This gateway acts as a checkpoint to ensure that the proposal is justified before further studies are done and resources are allocated to the preparation of a plan. A community consultation process is also determined at this time. Consultations occur with relevant public authorities and, if necessary, the proposal is varied;
  • Community consultation — the proposal is publicly exhibited (generally low impact proposals for 14 days, others for 28 days). As part of the exhibition process Council will ensure the relevant information is made available for access by the general public. A person making a submission may also request a public hearing be held;
  • There is considerable work required to undertake the initial assessment process and post Gateway process;
  • Assessment — Council then considers public submissions and the proposal is varied as necessary. Parliamentary Counsel then prepares a draft local environmental plan — the legal instrument.
  • Decision — With the Minister’s (or delegate’s) approval the plan becomes law and is published on the NSW legislation website.
  • If the Planning Proposal is eventually supported by Council and NSW Department of Planning & Environment all facets of the development will be required to undergo a Development Assessment process (including separate community engagement);

For questions specific to the Planning Proposal itself or assessment process please contact Brian McCourt Councils Senior Land Use Planner on 4325 8260 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Peat Island Links

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peatislandhawkesburyriver  |  Local Website: peatisland.cen.org.au

Email: peatisland@cen.org.au  |  Address: PO Box 149 OURIMBAH 2258

Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

FM Building, Central Coast Campus,
University of Newcastle,
Loop Road, Ourimbah,
NSW, 2258


Wildcard SSL Certificates