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The Central Coast Community Better Planning Group (CCCBPG) has called for a review of the population growth projections for the northern area of the Central Coast due to recommendations from the NSW Legislative Council’s report Costs for remediation of sites containing coal ash repositories and the limited water exchange of Lake Munmorah and Budgewoi Lake.

Chair of CCCBPG, Mr Gary Chestnut, said: “The bottom line is the current ash dam at Vales Point is approaching 100 million tons and could be considered as toxic as it is not currently being contained.”

“The runoff from the current ash dam leads to Lake Macquarie,” Mr Chestnut said. “Due to pollution entering Lake Macquarie, the NSW Department of Primary Industries has closed the whole of the waters of the Vales Point power station outlet canal for any type of fishing by any method and the waters within 100 metres of the canal extremity into Lake Macquarie.”

The Legislative Council’s inquiry uncovered divergent views as to whether coal ash poses any risks.

The report said: “Community members, environmental groups and health professionals argued coal ash should be treated as hazardous waste material given the significant environmental and health risks it poses and has caused. In contrast, industry representatives and power station operators commented that there were technical processes that could be carried out, but are not currently, to make coal ash non-toxic and inert.”

Mr Chestnut said CCCPBG believed those comments were acknowledgement that untreated coal ash was neither non-toxic nor inert.

“The inquiry formulated 16 recommendations of which five have a direct relationship to the Central Coast,” he said.

The five relevant recommendations were:

Recommendation No 3 – That the NSW Environment Protection Authority conduct and publish a study of surface and ground water around all coal fired power stations and associated coal ash dams and their potential impacts on the surrounding environment by the end of 2022.

Recommendation No 6 – That NSW Health immediately undertake epidemiological assessment of the health of residents near coal ash dams to establish the health impacts of coal ash and publish by December 2022.

Recommendation No 7 – That the NSW Environment Protection Authority commission a comprehensive and independent assessment of the environmental impacts of coal ash dams to provide a better understanding of the issues and to inform best practice remediation.

Recommendation No 8 – That the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment establish a coal ash reuse taskforce comprised of state government agencies, unions, industry stakeholders and community groups to lead development of a strategy to achieve at least 80 per cent reuse of coal ash produced in NSW and report by 2022.

Recommendation No 9 – that the task force inquire and review regulations affecting coal ash reuse, including: the stability and regulation of ash dams; waste standards to ensure that coal ash is not contaminated with other waste; and land remediation including the state and effectiveness of current capping, the current and future risk of leakage of contamination into the surrounding environment and impacts of vegetation cover (including any contaminated vegetation, release of contaminants into the air via transpiration and cracking of capping materials) to ensure the safe and beneficial reuse of coal ash while promoting strong environmental and public health standards.

“We have met with Central Coast Council Administrator, Mr Dick Persson AM, Environment and Planning Director, Mr Scott Cox, and Chief Operating Officer, Mr Malcolm Ryan, and asked that Council reflect upon the findings of the health study.

“In addition to the health studies Council needs to instigate a study on suitable water quality controls specific for any development leading into Lake Munmorah and Budgewoi Lake.

“Lake Munmorah has an average retention time of 520 days or 1.4 years or 2.4 times longer than Tuggerah Lakes so the design of any water quality controls leading into Lake Munmorah must be, in our opinion, site specific,” Mr Chestnut said.

“To do otherwise, in our opinion, will lead to decline in the biodiversity value of Lake Munmorah and adversely impact upon the quality of life of residents adjoining Lake Munmorah,” he said.

“Depending upon what happens to long-term water quality in Lake Munmorah, as it discharges into Budgewoi Lake (and this has a retention time of 460 days or 1.2 years or 2.1 times longer than Tuggerah Lakes), water quality in Budgewoi Lake becomes a further critical consideration.

“It is our opinion there is a strong argument that site specific water quality controls are also needed for Budgewoi Lake. We therefore request that Central Coast Council instigate site-specific studies of suitable water quality design controls leading into both Lake Munmorah and Budgewoi Lakes,” Mr Chestnut said.

“CCCBPG would like to see a moratorium on any rezoning within the Greater Lake Munmorah Structure Plan area until the health and water quality reports are finalised,” Mr Chestnut said.

Submission pic 6CEN has made the following submission to Central Coast Council regarding its recent exhibition of maps related to a proposed Conservation Agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) which should see the wetland protected permanently.

CEN has been advocating for the permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland for the past 20 years. It is the Central Coast’s largest remaining freshwater wetland, a vital part of the Tuggerah Lakes catchment and a backup drinking water supply for the region during drought.

CEN wishes to state categorically that it supports a CA between Central Coast Council and the NSW Biodiversity Certification Trust (BCT) to facilitate the permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland.

In fact, since October, we have written to the Central Coast Council’s Interim Administrator on two occasions urging him to complete the agreement which was ready for sign-off by the former CEO at the time of Mr Persson’s appointment.

Representatives of CEN met with Mr Persson in December 2020 to emphasise the importance of completing the CA.

Whilst CEN endorses the proposed CA we wish to make the following points related to the exhibited maps and the draft of the CA emailed to us during the exhibition period.

On page 8 of the Conservation Agreement, under the Schedule of Terms, the document lists the details of land and conservation areas.

CEN understands that the former Wyong Shire Council applied the E2 Environmental Conservation zone to land that either contained Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC) or to land zoned under the former 7(g) Wetland zone. 

We therefore seek clarification of Council’s zoning map which indicates that E2 Environmental Conservation zone extends beyond the properties listed in the land schedule.

The area of wetland and/or EECs extends beyond the listed properties.

On that basis, CEN asks that Council clarifies whether the list of properties contained in the CA includes all parcels of land owned by Council around Warnervale Landing Area? 

If not, what properties have been excluded and why were they excluded?

There appear to be inconsistencies when all three maps are compared.

For instance, why is the area within the yellow oval not colour coded as part of the Map of Management Zones as MZ1? 

Is the correct total area of the management zone for MZ1 517.63 if this area is not part of the management zones?

Can Council explain why these inconsistencies occur between maps?

In relation to the track and infrastructure map on page 26. Are all the pipelines, transmission lines and water junctions pre-existing or are they proposed for future construction? If new, will this involve vegetation clearing?

The map on page 32 of the CA identifies management zones from in MZ1 to MZ7.

We seek Council’s clarification of how access will be gained to manage trees that need to be trimmed within management zones MZ3 to MZ7?

In relation to the special vegetation management zones, can Council please confirm the CA acknowledges that those zones are only in place while the adjacent ALA is in existence.

The Conservation Agreement should not be a means to bypass any other conservation legislation related to the area at the southern end of the ALA.

Kincumba mountain tree pic from walkEXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  1. Unlawful and substantial environmental damage - illegal mountain bike activity in council-owned reserves is causing substantial environmental damage that needs to be addressed but we do not believe that opening up reserves as sanctioned local or regional mountain bike facilities is the answer.
  2. Discussion paper omissions – not enough information was provided about the ecological significance of sites recommended as potential local or regional mountain bike facilities.
  3. More data required – the discussion paper did not provide evidence that demand for mountain bike facilities is growing to justify further council expenditure on a regional mountain bike plan.
  4. Extensive and inclusive consultation – future consultation must be between Council and the whole community, not only the mountain bike community.
  5. Affordability – next steps would be expensive so this project needs to be put ‘on ice’ until Council’s deficit and debt repairs are complete.
  6. A word on culture – the cultural significance of sites considered as suitable for local or regional mountain bike facilities is clear and abundant.
  7. An alternative strategy – Council should work with private landholders to develop and promote facilities for mountain bikers and focus its attention on the region’s potential as an ecotourism destination.

INTRODUCTION

Central Coast Council’s exhibited Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper acknowledges that the construction of unauthorised mountain bike trails poses environmental, heritage and reputational risk. The conclusions acknowledge significant community concern for the protection of COSS described as “highly valued by the community”. Yet the discussion paper’s conclusions list Rumbalara-Katandra-Ferntree reserves and Kincumba Mountain Reserve as suitable locations for local or regional mountain bike facilities.

The rationale appears to be the existence of illegal mountain bike tracks in these locations which could be transformed into sanctioned trails – a fundamentally flawed argument given that those illegal tracks have already caused damage to Ecologically Endangered Communities (EECs).

According to the Environmental Defenders’ Office of NSW, Council’s knowledge of that damage and its failure to stop ongoing damage and protect EECs make it vulnerable to prosecution under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

CEN’s most pressing concern is to encourage Council to remedy the illegal use of its reserves to stop damage to endangered species and their habitat. We seek Council’s assurances that reserves known for their importance to sustaining the region’s biodiversity – namely Rumbalara, Katandra, Ferntree and Kincumba Mountain reserves – be excluded from plans for mountain bike facilities. We urge council to stop illegal mountain bike activities in those reserves and regenerate damaged areas.

UNLAWFUL ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

The encroachment of mountain bike trail building and riding into sensitive environmental and heritage land is a risk to biodiversity and has caused damage to Ecologically Endangered Communities (EECs) in COSS. The Otium/World Trail discussion paper understates the damage that has already occurred as a result of illegal trail building and use. It fails to mention the illegal tree removal, damage to hanging swamps and rainforest, interference with creeks and damage to sandstone platforms that has occurred and the ongoing expansion of the illegal mountain bike track network on council-owned land.

Council has acknowledged that the full extent of environmental damage caused by illegal mountain bike activity across its reserves is unknown. No audit has been conducted and Council has acknowledged it is unable to keep up with the illegal activity. This has been the case for many years.

The discussion paper identifies Kincumba Mountain Reserve, Rumbalara, Katandra and Ferntree Reserves, Munmorah State Conservation Area and Wyrrabalong National Park as sites suitable for regional mountain bike parks. CEN wishes to express its fervent opposition to the use Kincumba Mountain or Rumbalara-Katandra-Ferntree reserves for regional or local mountain bike facilities other than the existing use of fire trails.

A regional site has between 20 and 80km of trail, two loops, a site area of more than 500 hectares, a location within 40km of a 15,000 population and less than 10km from highways and major roads. Turning either Kincumba and/or Rumbalara-Katandra-Ferntree into a regional mountain bike facility could cause damage to the sensitive EECs and habitats contained in those reserves.

The extensive network of illegal trails all over Kincumba Mountain Reserve indicates how Council’s neglect has resulted in significant environmental damage. Hundreds of trees have been broken, chopped or sawn down without approval. Of particular concern was damage to grass tree, hanging swamp and rainforest EECs in the reserve.

The moving of sandstone rocks to build an illegal trail through a hanging swamp has displaced obvious above-ground flora and species in the soil – seeds, bulbs, corms, rhizomes, rootstocks or lignotubers.

The illegal damage already done to the Kincumba Mountain hanging swamp would also have an impact on micro-organisms, fungi, cryptogamic plants and a diverse fauna, both vertebrate and invertebrate. There are many other examples of damage to COSS caused by mountain bike trail building and riding. Council has abrogated its responsibilities to manage illegal activities in reserves it owns and manages. No, or very little, action has been taken in recent years to monitor or prosecute those participating in illegal trail building and use.

The discussion paper glosses over the ecological risks of opening reserves for more mountain bike activity. It appears to want to empower the culprits of this illegal activity. It recommends collaboration between council and mountain bike riding groups to locate and develop new, “sustainable” riding opportunities.

Some unauthorised trails may be closed but, if a trail has been audited, and all stakeholders agree, it may be converted into a sanctioned trail. The discussion paper suggests that sanctioned trail networks on public or leased land would be maintained and managed by mountain bikers. Would they have the expertise or the inclination to protect biodiversity? Would this restrict access to reserves by the general public?

CEN has sought the advice of the NSW Environmental Defenders’ Office (EDO) regarding remedies available to the community to stop illegal mountain bike activities in ecologically sensitive land. The EDO drew our attention to the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Part 2 Protection of animals and plants and in particular section 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4 which the EDO believes would be applicable to the damage to EECs within Council’s reserves caused by illegal mountain bike activity.

Council, as landowner, could be described, for the purposes of the Act, to be knowingly allowing breaches of the Act.

DISCUSSION PAPER OMISSIONS

Each 22km mountain bike track clears a football field of bush but the discussion paper’s section on environmental impacts does not adequately explore the damage that mountain biking can cause. It is limited to impacts during construction, the impacts of bikes versus hikers, and the importance of design and management. It has no information about the EECs and Regionally Significant species found in Council reserves. It fails to inform the community about the fragility of the fauna and flora within COSS.

The discussion paper does not even consider the environmental and heritage value of the. We urge Council to undertake further examination of the extent of damage already caused by illegal mountain bike activity within its reserves. It has a legal responsibility to do so as a matter of urgency.

MORE DATA REQUIRED

The parameters of the discussion paper were limited and several assertions were not substantiated. The discussion paper talks about high levels of demand for mountain biking without evidence apart from anecdotal feedback from bike shop operators. The building of unauthorised tracks is cited as evidence of unmet demand. CEN urges Council to undertake more research into the demand for mountain bike facilities before putting any recommendation to Council. One suggestion would be a single-sheet questionnaire sent out to all rate payers with their next rates notice. This would give Council the most representative and unbiased correlation of demand for mountain bike facilities.

The paper does not include an audit of the damage already done to the reserves, even those listed as popular mountain bike locations on the Central Coast. CEN recommends a systematic audit of all council-owned reserves across the Local Government Area to ascertain the extent of illegal trails, send a clear warning to the builders and users of those trails and assess the damage to EECs.

Kincumba Mountain appears to be one of the only potential mountain bike sites to have been visited by Otium or World Trails as part of the study. A desk audit of other locations may have been deemed appropriate for a discussion paper. An accurate assessment of the feasibility of mountain biking as a major tourist drawcard should only be made on the basis of comprehensive site visits and an exhaustive site audit. The site audit must include a systematic assessment of the presence of EECs and their habitat.

CONSULTATION NEEDS TO BE COMPREHENSIVE AND INCLUSIVE

If Council decides to make the Central Coast a mountain bike riding destination, a Regional Trails Plan will be developed with land managers and the mountain bike community. CEN seeks assurances from Council that the broader community and those with knowledge of EECs will be included in any consultations.

Council’s draft trails approval process implies mountain bike groups will be able to propose sites for new trails in an open-ended fashion. This poses the risk of environmental degradation across swathes of bushland. Academic research conducted into the culture and behaviour of mountain biking participants shows that it has increasingly turned into an ‘extreme’ sport and the conquest of new and more challenging trails is an intrinsic part of its attraction to participants.

If council cannot keep up with the current level of illegal mountain bike activity across the region, how will it do so once the region is identified as a mountain biking destination? CEN urges any proposal back to Council to include a detailed strategy for preventing and taking action against illegal mountain bike activity.

Otium and World Trails recommend that locations for trails should include the “opportunity to extend” the network as demand increases. CEN suggests this approach to the expansion of trails should be another reason to eliminate any sensitive locations such as Rumbalara-Katandra-Ferntree and Kincumba Mountain from consideration for sanctioned mountain biking.

CAN CENTRAL COAST COUNCIL AFFORD TO MOVE FORWARD WITH THIS PROJECT?

A trail audit and a demand analysis will require significant staff resources. It is questionable whether Central Coast Council can afford this speculative project with significant and quantifiable costs in exchange for benefits and revenue streams that have not been quantified.

A detailed analysis of demand is needed to substantiate any additional spending on this project. The absence of a reliable demand analysis in the discussion paper has made it difficult for CEN and the broader community to assess whether this venture has a measurable economic benefit.

CEN seeks assurances from Council that resources will not be taken from other important environmental programs and works to push this project forward.

Council’s focus appears to be on building formal tracks to attract tourists. This emphasis is unimaginative and reflective of council’s ongoing preference for picking low hanging fruit rather than developing a vision for the Central Coast that reflects its abundant potential as a national and an internationally-significant eco-tourism destination. In light of the council’s current financial fragility it may be considered reckless to spend any more money on mountain biking.

A WORD ON CULTURE

As an environmental network CEN does not consider itself qualified to comment on the cultural significance of sites such as Kincumba Reserve. However, according to Awabakal & Guringai Pty Ltd Director, Traditional Custodian and Registered Aboriginal Stakeholder with Heritage NSW, Ms Tracey Howie, the cultural significance of Kincumba Reserve should rule it out immediately as a site for sanction or official mountain bike activity. In Ms Howie’s words the destruction and illegal impacts to Aboriginal cultural heritage items on Kincumba Mountain due to illegal mountain bike tracks is a criminal offence.

“Please do not consider Kincumba Mountain for mountain bike riding. There are other areas more appropriate. More riders will only add to the damage currently visible throughout this cultural landscape due to the actions of the mountain bike riders. I encourage Council to adhere to their responsibilities and obligations to Aboriginal cultural heritage within their LGA and explore efforts to have the Kincumba Mountain Reserve recognised and registered as an Aboriginal Place, given its deep connection to local Aboriginal lore and law and the obvious heritage present within the cultural landscape.”

ALTERNATIVE STRATEGY

Central Coast Council continues to overlook this region’s most obvious and abundant potential as a tourist drawcard - its existing natural assets, its beaches, national parks and reserves and sites of Aboriginal cultural significance. They give it boundless potential, if managed and promoted correctly, to become an ecotourism destination of world acclaim.

From the Hawkesbury River to the southern shores of Lake Macquarie, the Central Coast boasts natural landscapes and attractions less than two hours from international airports and cruise terminals. Until we realise the value of our natural and heritage assets and take steps to commit to preserving and promoting them in a sustainable manner, we will never be able to harness their full potential. The consideration of turning locations such as Kincumba, Rumbalara, Katandra, Ferntree, or any other natural reserve or national park into venues for an extreme sport like mountain biking, moves this region away from ever becoming a preferred destination for the burgeoning regional, national and international eco-tourism marketplace.

Central Coast Council must embark on a detailed investigation of harnessing the region’s eco-tourism potential. As a starting point, we recommend the following:

  1. Work with CEN to expand COSS to the whole Central Coast as per the NSW Government’s Central Coast Regional Plan and the One Central Coast Community Strategic Plan. CEN has met Administrator, Mr Dick Persson, who agreed to being involved, along with the Executive Leadership Team, in the launch of CEN’s comprehensive report into how to expand COSS to the former Wyong LGA.
  2. Work with CEN to encourage the NSW Government to take the current COSS and a vision for the expanded whole-of-region COSS into the NSW national parks estate as an E1 Regional Park managed jointly by NPWS, Central Coast Council, Traditional Custodians and community representatives.
  3. Promote this region’s outstanding natural wonders, in the form of our unique Coastal Open Space System regional park, to local, regional, national and international tourists.
  4. Work with private landholders to develop and promote alternative facilities for mountain bike riders that do not damage EECs or sites of invaluable biodiversity or Aboriginal cultural significance.

CONCLUSIONS

The NSW Local Government Act states ‘Councils should consider the long term and cumulative effects of its actions on future generations and should consider the principles of ecologically sustainable development’. The protection of COSS lands, now and into the future, is of paramount importance to sustaining the Central Coast’s biodiversity. Section 2.4 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act of 2016 clearly states that a person who damages the habitat of a threatened species or threatened ecological community who knows that it is the habitat of any such species or community is guilty of an offence that carries a maximum penalty of $330,000 for an individual (plus a per-day or per-animal penalty) or two years’ imprisonment.

Those who damage habitat in the carrying out of an illegal activity (such as building or using unsanctioned bike tracks) are taken as knowing that it is habitat. It is not good enough for Central Coast Council to throw its hands in the air and say it is too difficult to catch the people damaging endangered habitat. It is arguably a dereliction of its legal responsibilities to enable damage to such habitat.

If Council is going to spend money on mountain biking that money should be spent on signs about the penalties for the destruction of habitat, CCTV cameras to catch the culprits, education and enforcement to stop the building and use of illegal trails and bush regeneration to repair the extensive damage already called. Having just zoned all council-owned COSS land E2, the community wants to see Council’s ongoing commitment to COSS and the community values it represents.

Council staff’s overall objective to seek endorsement for the development of a draft mountain biking action plan for the Central Coast region appears to be a costly endeavour, both in financial and environmental terms, with little evidence of any substantial return on investment. Council (in August 2020) resolved to recognise the economic and social benefits of Mountain Biking and acknowledged the importance of a structured approach to developing facilities and tracks for Mountain Bikes in conjunction with a targeted tourism strategy.

However, since August, Central Coast Council’s true financial situation has been exposed, and it would seem irresponsible to pursue anything but core activities at the present time. CEN also wishes to note its opposition to Bouddi and Brisbane Water National Park and Jilliby State Conservation Area as appropriate sites for national trail parks defined as being able to accommodate more than 100km worth of trails.

We request that Council rules out the idea of establishing shared or club maintenance and management of sanctioned trail networks on public or leased land if it does go ahead with a regional mountain bike plan.

We object to the recommendation for the adoption of a trails approval process that appears to empower mountain bike groups to propose sites for new trails in an open-ended fashion.

Coss Logo MediumThe Central Coast Council's consultation for the Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper closes on Monday, 22 March, 2021. It's not too late to make a submission.

If you feel strongly about the need to protect biodiversity in Central Coast Council's reserves, particularly in COSS lands, use our submission template to have your say.

Share the template with others who feel the same way and encourage them to make a submission.

The threats to COSS land are real. All Council-owned COSS land has now been zoned E2. CEN believes, in the absence of a unique zone for environmental land in public ownership, the best zoning for COSS would be an E1 Regional Park or National Park.

We will keep campaiging for the protection of COSS so the whole community can enjoy Council reserves.

Use our submission template and have your say!

The Community Environment Network supports mountain biking but we are concerned about its suitability in the Coastal Open Space System (COSS). That is why we are urging our members, supporters and the broader community to oppose, via Central Coast Council's Your Voice Our Coast website, any plans to build new trails in COSS or approve existing illegal trails.

 

Central Coast Council staff are considering a Mountain Bike Strategy to build and manage mountain bike tracks and parks in Council-owned reserves, including COSS. A Mountain Bike Feasibility Discussion Paper is currently on exhibition until March 22 via yourvoiceourcoast.com.au.

The discussion paper acknowledges that the construction of unauthorised mountain bike trails poses environmental, heritage and reputational risk to Council.

The conclusions acknowledge significant community concern for the protection of COSS described as “highly valued by the community”.

Yet the discussion paper that is now on public exhibition is flawed.

We are urging Central Coast residents who care about protecting ecologically sensitive land to make a submission against Council moving forward with a full-blown Mountain Bike Strategy via yourvoiceourcoast before March 22.

Environmental damage

The encroachment of mountain bike trail building and riding into sensitive environmental and heritage land is a real risk to biodiversity and has already caused damage to Ecologically Endangered Communities (EECs) in COSS.

Each 22km mountain bike track clears a football field of bush but the discussion paper’s section on environmental impacts is inadequate. It is limited to impacts during construction, the impacts of bikes versus hikers, and the importance of design and management.

The discussion paper has no information about the Endangered Ecological Communities and Regionally Significant species found in Council reserves. It fails to inform the community about the fragility of the fauna and flora within COSS.

The discussion paper does not even consider the environmental and heritage value of the reserves that could become regional mountain bike parks.

It understates the damage that has already occurred as a result of illegal trail building and use. It fails to mention the illegal tree removal, damage to hanging swamps and rainforest, interference with creeks and damage to sandstone platforms that has already occurred.

The discussion paper identifies Kincumba Mountain Reserve, Rumbalara, Katandra and Ferntree Reserves, Munmorah State Conservation Area and Wyrrabalong National Park as sites suitable for regional mountain bike parks.

A regional site is required to have between 20km and 80km of trail, two loops, a site area of more than 500 hectares, a location within 40km of a 15,000 population and less than 10km from highways and major roads. Turning Kincumba, Rumbalara, Katandra or Ferntree into a regional mountain bike facility would completely undermine their biodiversity value and cause irreversible damage. These iconic reserves, so important for their ecological value, would be lost.

As a case study, the extensive network of illegal trails all over Kincumba Mountain Reserve indicates how Council staff’s neglect has resulted in significant and potentially irreversible environmental damage. Representatives of the Community Environment Network have walked illegal trails on Kincumba Mountain to quantify and qualify concerns expressed by the community.

The extent of the damage must be witnessed to be believed. Countless trees have been broken, chopped or sawn down without approval. Of particular concern was damage to hanging swamp and rainforest terrain in the reserve.

The moving of sandstone rocks to build an illegal trail through a hanging swamp has displaced obvious above-ground flora and species in the soil – seeds, bulbs, corms, rhizomes, rootstocks or lignotubers.

The illegal damage already done to the Kincumba Mountain hanging swamp would also have an impact on micro-organisms, fungi, cryptogamic plants and a diverse fauna, both vertebrate and invertebrate.

There are many other examples of existing damage to COSS across other reserves caused by mountain bike trail building and riding.

Lack of data

Council has asked the community to participate in consultation when it has not even done a trail audit or a demand analysis.

The discussion paper talks about high levels of demand for mountain biking without evidence. How can the community make up its mind about the feasibility of mountain biking without a trail audit or a demand analysis?

The paper does not include an audit of the damage already done to the reserves, even those listed as popular mountain bike locations on the Central Coast.

Of the 22 sites listed in the Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper, Kincumba Mountain appears to be one of the only potential mountain bike sites to have been visited as part of preparation of the study. Why have so few site visits been conducted? Surely if staff were serious about determining the feasibility of this activity as a major tourist drawcard, more site visits needed to be conducted before the study went on exhibition.

Kids in the candy shop

Council staff have abrogated their responsibility to manage illegal activities in Council reserves. They have taken no, or very little, action in recent years to monitor or fine those participating in illegal trail building and use. The discussion paper glosses over the ecological risks of opening reserves for more mountain bike activity.

Council staff want to collaborate with mountain bike riding groups to locate and develop new, “sustainable” riding opportunities. Some unauthorised trails may be closed but if a trail has been audited and all stakeholders agree it may be converted into a sanctioned trail.

Sanctioned trail networks on public or leased land would be maintained and managed by mountain bikers. Will they have the expertise or the inclination to protect biodiversity? Will this restrict access to reserves by the general public?

If Council decides to make the Central Coast a mountain bike riding destination, a Regional Trails Plan will be developed in consultation with land managers and the mountain bike community. Other key stakeholders, including anyone with environmental expertise, appear to have been excluded from this consultation. Will the broader community and those concerned about conservation be consulted?

Council’s draft trails approval process implies mountain bike groups will be able to propose sites for new trails in an open-ended fashion. This poses the risk of environmental degradation across swathes of bushland.

Council’s consultants, World Trail, recommend that locations for trails should include the “opportunity to extend” the network of trails as demand increases. Does this mean more trails will be built in COSS on an ongoing basis?

Can Central Coast Council afford this?

Both a trail audit and a demand analysis will require significant staff resources, particularly given the extent of illegal trails. Council has not been able to afford the resources to properly address the illegal building of tracks in its reserves. It is therefore questionable whether Central Coast Council can afford this speculative project with significant and quantifiable costs for potentially insignificant and unquantified benefits/revenue.

The discussion paper repeatedly asserts high levels of demand for mountain biking without completing a demand analysis. A detailed analysis of demand is needed to substantiate any additional spending on this project. The demand analysis should have been completed as part of preparation of the discussion paper. How else can the community assess whether or not there is a measurable economic benefit to the region from this venture?

Council staff’s focus appears to be on building formal tracks to attract tourist revenue to the region. This emphasis is unimaginative and reflective of staff’s ongoing preference for picking low-hanging fruit rather than developing a vision for the Central Coast that reflects its abundant potential as an internationally-significant eco tourism destination. This is the latest of many “lightbulb” grabs for cash in the grand tradition of Chinese theme parks, passenger airports and giant pelicans.

It is of interest that the Department of Premier and Cabinet was consulted by staff as a stakeholder in this feasibility study. According to the discussion paper, a senior project officer within the DPC said a NSW Mountain Bike Strategy was currently being put together.

“Some cross-agency networks have recently been established in northern Sydney. Hornsby-Kur ring gai and Northern Beaches councils are working together with National Parks and other state land managers to look at ways to meet the growing demand for mountain biking”.

It is of note that Central Coast Council does not appear to have been included in this networking. In light of the council’s current financial crisis it may be considered reckless to spend any more money on the feasibility of mountain biking. If other regions are more advanced than the Central Coast the unmet demand for mountain bike locations may very well be met before Central Coast Council is able to develop anything.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

If you think sensitive COSS lands need to be kept for passive recreation and conservation and other, more appropriate, locations found for mountain bike riding, please have your say before March 22 at yourvoiceourcoast.com.au.

Be sure to:

1. Register your interest to discuss the proposal with project staff

2. Ask a question and have the answer published

3. Write a submission by March 22 either using the online submission form or emailing

4. Encourage others in the community who share your concerns to also participate in the consultation

5. Watch the Friends of COSS and CEN facebook pages, share our posts about bikes in COSS and comment 

6. Register to speak at a Central Coast Council public forum about the importance of protecting COSS

Do you know somebody who has… stood their ground at the crease...deflected the assault from their opponents...and remained steadfast in protecting their wicket…. all in the interests of the environment?

Then we would like to acknowledge them as part of the team.

2019 BAT Award winners

CEN is calling for nominations for the following Annual Awards:

  • Most outstanding all rounder – to a person or group who has put in a valiant effort on behalf of the environment/ sustainability.
  • Most outstanding community based organisation – to a group that has worked tirelessly on behalf of the environment / sustainability.
  • Rookie of the year – a newcomer to the conservation movement who has contributed to the improvement of our region’s environment/sustainability.
  • Best 12th man (or woman) – to somebody who has worked quietly in the background to support others in the front line-up and helps keep the team afloat.

Nominations must be submitted by 5pm, Thursday, 12 November, 2020.

Please visit www.cen.org.au/events to submit your nomination or contact CEN on 4349 5756 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Whenever I go into the CEN office located at Ourimbah campus, to attend meetings or catch up on tasks as the volunteer in chief, I am always greeted by the wonderful energy of community members in our centre.

 It is great to catch up with staff and the inspirational work that they do. But I also love speaking with our other volunteers, who like me spend numerous hours of their week, working to make our Community Environment Network the success story that it is. Whether it is caring for the plants, getting them ready for our monthly plant sales. Or in the nursery, developing the plants from seedlings. Or it could be designing logos for our programs and events or data entry for our community nature programs. Not to mention our front-line volunteers who answer our phone calls and respond to our emails. They are all members of our Central Coast Community who realise that Connecting with people who have the same vision for their community and our local environment is key for our well-being. Once we make this Connection, we can Collaborate, bringing our thinking together to Create models of how our community should look and function. So, it makes sense, the energy I feel when I speak with volunteers like myself who share their skills and passions volunteering for CEN. We connect to something bigger than our individual selves in which everyone has a role to play.CEN Youth National Tree Planting Day 2020

The current Climate the way it is and the inevitable Change that will take place whether its forced on us or we prepare our human communities to face these Challenges. All we will have, are these relationships, that Connect us with one another and our natural environment. An essential first step to ensure the Collaboration and Creation of community models follows. The stakes are high, but the rewards will be world changing.

Community is Everything

Hale Adasal

CEN Chair

It Takes A Village ...

Is originally, an African proverb. We have all heard it and understand that raising children and the next generation requires multiple members of the community, sIt takes a village Word Artuch as extended family, teachers, mentors, surrogate family members and friends to support and help them develop. Parents are not enough, children need mentors, teachers, surrogate aunts, uncles, grandparents, go to people, to understand their place in the community, their role and identity.

The recent Covid -19 restrictions have separated us from these go to people putting all the weight on the parent/s. Creating quite a bit of stress on members of our community, in which everyone has been impacted.

If we look at it from the perspective of the next generation, predominately Youth and their social connections with their friends and peers was not available during the restrictions. So, the opportunity to share their experiences and grievances was lost during this period. Our health and wellbeing as social creatures are essential for living fully functional connected lives.

Our CEN Youth group that I have had the privilege to develop have shared with me the frustrations and suffering young people are facing. A middle-aged woman as I, has built the resilience and skills to manage the social isolation and find creative ways to connect with friends and family. This opportunity may not be readily accessible to many Youth.

Our CEN Youth group have been catching up regularly online, touching base and sharing experiences with each other, acknowledging that they are experiencing the same suffering not being able to connect, face to face with their friends and family. We are also planning a short hike (following the restriction guidelines) with a team building exercise for our next catch up.

It is important we try to understand how it must feel from their perspective to see the changes that are unfolding as a new system develops. Hence why Youth voices must be heard and supported as they will be inheriting this future we have already started to create.

Community is Everything

Hale Adasal CEN Chair

The CEN is an alliance of community and environment groups from Lake Macquarie, Wyong and Gosford.

We are a non-profit organisation working to protect and improve our local environment.

The aims and objectives of CEN are as follows:
• to increase effectiveness of community groups
• to be a regional voice on the Central Coast
• provide a forum for public discussion and education
• increase public awareness and understanding
• to promote community monitoring of the environment
• to facilitate the empowerment of individuals

If the aims and objectives resonate with you, please have a look at our opportunities page for more information about what positions are avaliable. 

CEN would like to remind the Community and CEN Members that The Central Coast Council's Draft Waste Resource Management Strategy is currently open for Public Exhibition.  

https://www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/our-coast-our-waste

The team at Community Environment Network hosted a discussion with Kariong Eco Garden about the Strategy.
Check out CEN's facebook page for some more information on the Strategy.

Waste is inevitable, we have a chance to better help how we manage waste as a resource.
Send your submission via

Council's online submission form
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Post: PO Box 20, Wyong, NSW, 2259

Submissions close for comment 21 June 2020 5pm (This Sunday) 

Local Systems

As a member of the Local Futures network a global organisation that recognises, that the future lies with the local community. We share ideas, stories and models of operating that work in our localities with the aim of developing socially inclusive and sustainable communities. So, we understand, that all our communities globally are distinct and a response to a problem should vary and be culturally appropriate to that locality and environment. Just as our natural environments are biologically diverse, our community cultures have developed matching this diversity with their own uniqueness. So, Wyong is different to Woy Woy, is different to Terrigal and Mangrove Mountain. They, however, are all interconnected giving the Central Coast its distinct identity.

When we buy locally grown seasonal foods, this reduces our carbon footprint with reduced transport costs and supports local growers. It cuts out the middleman so to speak, essentially farm to table and seasonal, keeping us in touch with nature and her regenerative cycles. Local growers generally tend to use less pesticides as they are more accountable to their customers, rather than a faceless distant market. Supporting local businesses develops a deeper relationship with our producers as they are our part of our community. This builds our sense of belonging and connection to our locality, each different, and unique to its local natural environment.

Hands down Local Futures

So, when we have a blanket policy, or development that might sit well in an urban suburb of a metropolitan city but is out of character with a beachside suburb of the coast. Or next door to one of the most biologically diverse wetlands integral to Central Coast’s clean water supply. It is then, we see the unsustainable nature of globalisation which excludes the community in informing how their locality should look or function. Whereas localism reconnects us with our natural environment, each other and keeps us healthy and sustainable as a community, into the future.

We are in this together

Hale Adasal CEN Chair

We are looking for nursery hand volunteers to assist the nursery coordinator at our Ourimbah Wildplant Community Nursery 2-15hrs a week.

 

Duties include: watering, tidying, weeding of plants, stocktake, preparing plant orders and labelling.

No experience needed, onsite training provided.

 

Please contact CEN if you are interested. 

Nursery hand Volunteer opportunity Closes 30th June.

For more information about our nursery please see brochure.

Phone: 02 4349 4756

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Central Coast Council's first draft Local Strategic Planning Statement

(LSPS) is on exhibition until the 8th June.

This is an important document as it will strongly influence if not direct how and where local development will take place over the next 20 years

If you want to have a say on the future planning of our local Central Coast now is your chance - we encourage you to make a submission 

The draft Local Strategic Planning Statement and options for feedback can be accessed via the following link: https://www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/lsps

Submissions and feedback will be accepted by Council until 5pm Monday 8 June 2020. The website sets out how you can submit an individual submission.

Online video forums are being held in each of the five council wards beginning on Wednesday 27th May and we encourage you to participate to find out more.

Budgewoi Ward - Wednesday 27th May 2020 6pm-7:30pm

Wyong Ward - Tuesday 2nd June 2020 1pm-2:30pm

Gosford East Ward - Tuesday 2nd June 2020 6pm-7:30pm

Gosford West Ward - Thursday 4th June 1pm-2:30pm

The Entrance Ward - Thursday 4th June 6pm-7:30pm 

Please Click Here to Register for the forums

CEN members have been working on a submission and have come up with some points that might assist you when reading the document and making your own submission:

  • The profile within the draft LSPS only presents economic parameters.  It does not identify many of the things we value and wish to see protected or enhanced such as the Coastal Open Space System (COSS); our local biological diversity; value of local tourism; value of local agriculture; importance of all of our local waterways;  importance of our Aboriginal Heritage.
  • The Draft LSPS Identifies areas such as Picketts Valley, land between Kincumber and the Bouddi Peninsula, Erina Valley, Matcham Valley, Holgate Valleys, areas along Tumbi Umbi Road and areas west of the M1 Motorway at Tuggerah as urban Land.  
  • In the Lake Munmorah region, the draft LSPS does not identify the Employment, Commercial, Educational, Recreation/Sports, Biodiversity Corridor lands or land claims within the corridor, nor the land use conflicts of Consolidated Coal Leases that are identified in the Greater Lake Munmorah Structure Plan.
  • The draft LSPS suggests consolidation (selling off?)  of our local parks by undertaking an audit and review of the use of small parks. The save our parks campaign in 2015 demonstrated that the community wants to retain our local community parks.
  • The LSPS should make a clear statement that Council intends to prepare Character statements for each “Planning Area” and for each “Community” area.  In preparing character statements Council needs to ensure prominent backdrops to town centres, waterways and main roads should become leafy low-density hillsides, where new developments do not dominate the landscape.

A link to more detailed comments can be found Here. Please note this is a work in progress as we are still reviewing the document.

Remember submissions close 5pm Monday 8th June

The CEN office is closed to the public until further notice.

There will be skeleton staff working at the office, if you have any queries related to CEN please contact us via email or phone. 

02 4349 4756

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Health Crisis?

The recent outbreak of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has forced authorities to take measures to practice self-isolation and physical distancing. So hence CEN has had to cancel its upcoming events, that engage us with our natural environment and each other through our numerous programs. As well as being a human health crisis this is also an environmental health crisis. Let me explain.

Our natural environment has evolved to be the only planet in our universe, where our oceans and forests provide us with the oxygen to breathe, sustain us with fresh water and nurture us with the foods we eat from trees and plants and in effect regenerating populations.

Several researchers today think that it is humanity’s destruction of our biodiversity that has created the conditions for new viruses and diseases such as Covid-19. Hence there is a call world-wide, for an overhaul of current approaches to urban planning and development, that is cancerous in its approach to unsustainable development and out of balance with the natural environment.  Sustainable development is essential if we are to keep our biodiverse wetlands and native forests across the Central Coast and beyond intact and in equilibrium to provide us with the clean air, fresh water and clean soils, plants/ trees to sustain us.

The United Nations, Environment executive director Ms Inger Andersen, in a recent article in the Guardian newspaper titled, ‘Coronavirus, Nature is Sending Us a Message’ is quoted as saying. “There are too many pressures at the same time on our natural systems and something has to give. We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves. And as we hurtle towards a population of 10 billion people on this planet, we need to go into this future armed with nature as our strongest ally.”

health crisis

On the Central Coast we are privileged enough to have, in our back and front yards the beaches, lakes and wetlands, native forests and parklands, all essential to human health and well-being. Once the physical distancing and crisis passes, which it will, it is important we reconnect with one another and our natural environment. Recognising the role nature plays in our lives and doing all that we can to protect her from unsustainable cancerous development.

CEN regularly holds planning submission workshops for ecologically sustainable development. Educating our community in ways to reconnect with nature through our Waterwatch, Habitat for Wildlife and Land for Wildlife programs. Visit our Marine Discovery Centre, plant native trees by supporting our native/wild plant nursery. Most importantly build the resilience of our future leaders in practising regeneration through our Youth. Encouraging and supporting them to be involved with our CEN Youth program, related events and initiatives.

We are all in this together.

Hale Adasal CEN Chairwoman


The year is 2050 and our Central Coast Youth are now leading in their respective fields in our communities across the coast. The transition to renewable energy production is now complete, the local economies are interdependent on sustainable industries, run and owned locally. Community gardens are a hive of activity and act as community meeting hubs. Eco-tourism is a thriving industry employing more than half of the workforce in our region as our wetlands, old growth forests, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are world acclaimed.

Each decade, from 2020, our next generation of community members and leaders were involved in projects, events and programs supported by the elders in our community and leaders in their respective fields. This staged succession planning was strategically coordinated by the leaders in 2020, ensuring our youth were learning to proactively develop and manage the challengers of their generation.CEN YOUTH outdoor shot

This year, our CEN Youth will be working together with the elders (committee members) of our Community Environment Network (CEN). Together on local community projects and events in generating positive action towards a sustainable future. Inspiring engagement of our wider community in connecting with our natural environment on the Central Coast. In 2019, our CEN Youth developed the ‘Steps Towards a Sustainable Future’, with the core themes of Protect, Reconnect and Regenerate. The steps focus areas included: Reduce Reuse Recycle; Transport; Renewable Energy; Native Trees, Plant Based Foods and Storytelling. These were developed to act as an easy guide for members of our Central Coast community to act in building a sustainable future. In which everyone with every action we take could have a positive impact.

The story we write and tell ourselves this year and in years coming will determine our future and that for our next generation. At CEN, we are playing our part, as we all have a role to play in building sustainable communities and future leaders. What role will you play?
For more information about the steps to take and to become involved with CEN Youth please visit our www.cen.org.au website and contact us via our CEN Youth projects page.

Ms Hale Adasal CEN Chairwoman

If you think about our first response to emergencies and disasters, we generally look out for our fellow community members. We offer them shelter, feed and care for them, it’s in our DNA, we just do it automatically without giving it much thought. Recently, a wider cross section of our community, responded to the impacts of the bushfires, extreme heat and smoke on our wildlife. Leaving water out, for our birds and wildlife and financially supporting the groups who physically care for them. But once the urgency has passed and life goes back to some form of normality, we generally continue with our routines and business as usual. Not making time to reflect and ask questions, leaves us vulnerable to experience the same tragedies over and over again.IMG 5138

Questions, such as: What can we do to lessen the impact of this extreme weather? How can we work collaboratively with our community organisations, who care for vulnerable members of our community: homeless, elderly, young families and local wildlife; who don’t have evacuation centres to seek refuge? What are we doing as a community to protect our native state forests and national parks, that create rain and protect us from droughts? Are we involved and supporting diverse native tree planting events in our yards and streets? Are we members of our local environment network (CEN), proactively seeking the informed knowledge and attending local events to reconnect with our nature on the Central Coast and beyond?

Are we involved in protecting our precious biodiverse wetlands, home to so much wildlife and birds, ensuring our local environments resilience to the extreme weather? Why aren’t we working with our First Australians who have for more than 60,000 years, through cultural burning managed the land we now call home and community? I wonder what it must feel like to have this wealth of intergenerational knowledge as first peoples of Australia, yet not be acknowledged and allowed to lead in working the land and watch the land and wildlife burn unnecessarily. And sadly, watching native forests be treated as commodities even though they have been around for as long as your ancestors and are part of your heritage and your responsibility to protect. I imagine it would be like losing a loved one, over and over again.

CEN Chair Hale Adasal

Depending on who you ask, ‘what is human nature?’ You’ll receive a completely different response. The lens with which the world is viewed is the key here. An economist may say human nature is to strive for development and growth, a health practitioner may say human nature is to strive for a long, healthy life. A cultural anthropologist may say human nature is a social animal striving to belong and connect. A technology expert may say human nature strives for innovation; an ecologist may say human nature is to ensure a balance between living organisms and their natural environment and spiritual leader may say human nature is to strive for peace and equanimity.

The time in history we ask this question, would also change the response. Our First Australians would still answer human nature is to be caretakers for our living community (flora and fauna) that sustains it. In fact, all of our ancestors, first peoples from all over the globe, would have said the same, looking out for one another our natural world, which provides us with this abundance, shelter, clean air and water to live and be, without which we wouldn’t be able to ask this question.

But I’m asking this question in 2020 and my answer would be all the above. We need all our lenses to blend into one and just like in nature a diverse community ensures resilience and survival. The basics of clean air, water, shelter and healthy soils for food should be a given for all our living communities. Anything additional could focus on community development and innovation with the aim of continuing to ensure all our living communities, including our wildlife with which we share this bounty, have their basic needs met. That is my human nature, in which human and nature are one and the same. So, what’s your nature?

Hale Adasal CEN Chair

Last night, 28 November was CEN’s End of Year get-together where we celebrated together the achievements of this past year. We also presented the 2019 Be a Team (BAT) Awards and CEN Staff gave a brief update on their activities for the year.

The 2019 winners are:

  • Most outstanding all-rounder “BAT” Award– Gary Blaschke for his dedicated work with Disabled Surfers Association, Coal-ash Community Alliance and as a vocal spokesperson on local issues.

  • Most outstanding community based organisation– Grow Urban Shade Trees (GUST), founders Melissa Chandler, Debbie Sunartha and Jennifer Wilder for their tireless work promoting the benefits of trees and community planting events.

  • Rookie of the year– Justin Estreich, for his inspirational marine debris clean ups across the Central Coast for Sea Shepherd and bringing people together in these events.

  • Best 12thperson –Carla Roberts for her dedication and commitment to Wildlife ARC caring for injured native animals for more than 30 yearsBAT AWARDS

living Systems

The recent catastrophic fire conditions have highlighted the deep disconnect we have with nature and lack of understanding of our interdependency with this living system, of which we are a part. This ignorance at all levels of our complex societies, has detached the connection between deforestation leading to soil erosion and without the “deep root of trees to bring moisture from deep underground eventually replenishing the atmospheric moisture from our oceans, the droughts tend to be longer and drier,” as described by Charles Eisenstein in his book Climate a New Story. He describes how deforestation results in higher clouds, which produce less rainfall in total but in greater intensity, aggravating the drought/flooding cycle.

This living system also includes our wildlife, such as our Koala’s, whose interdependent relationship with native eucalyptus trees are vital for other wildlife and so any catastrophic change to their population can trigger an ecological chain reaction. That’s why we are in a critical stage in human civilisation and why more than ever, we need to protect our Coastal Open Space System (COSS) and native forests from being cleared. Also, continue to protect our biodiversity, essential for the resilience of our living system, such as Porters Creek Wetlands on the Central Coast, so it is not only protected but thriving. Join us at our monthly Sustainable Saturday’s to Protect, Reconnect and Regenerate our living human communities so dependent on a healthy ‘living system’.

Hale Adasal CEN Chair

CEN News Headlines

  • Community Better Planning Group calls for action on coal ash inquiry findings

    The Central Coast Community Better Planning Group (CCCBPG) has called for a review of the population growth projections for the northern area of the Central Coast due to recommendations from the NSW Legislative Council’s report Costs for remediation of sites containing coal ash repositories and the limited water exchange of

    Read More
  • CEN supports Conservation Agreement for Porters Creek Wetland but wants maps clarified

    CEN has made the following submission to Central Coast Council regarding its recent exhibition of maps related to a proposed Conservation Agreement with the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) which should see the wetland protected permanently. CEN has been advocating for the permanent protection of Porters Creek Wetland for the

    Read More
  • CEN's submission on mountain biking in COSS

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Unlawful and substantial environmental damage - illegal mountain bike activity in council-owned reserves is causing substantial environmental damage that needs to be addressed but we do not believe that opening up reserves as sanctioned local or regional mountain bike facilities is the answer. Discussion paper omissions – not enough information

    Read More
  • Call for nominations - CEN 2020 BAT Awards

    Do you know somebody who has… stood their ground at the crease...deflected the assault from their opponents...and remained steadfast in protecting their wicket…. all in the interests of the environment? Then we would like to acknowledge them as part of the team. CEN is calling for nominations for the following

    Read More
  • Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper Submissions

    The Central Coast Council's consultation for the Mountain Bike Feasibility Study Discussion Paper closes on Monday, 22 March, 2021. It's not too late to make a submission. If you feel strongly about the need to protect biodiversity in Central Coast Council's reserves, particularly in COSS lands, use our submission template

    Read More
  • Is it suitable to have mountain bike trails in COSS?

    The Community Environment Network supports mountain biking but we are concerned about its suitability in the Coastal Open Space System (COSS). That is why we are urging our members, supporters and the broader community to oppose, via Central Coast Council's Your Voice Our Coast website, any plans to build new

    Read More
  • Volunteer and paid opportunities at CEN

    The CEN is an alliance of community and environment groups from Lake Macquarie, Wyong and Gosford. We are a non-profit organisation working to protect and improve our local environment. The aims and objectives of CEN are as follows:• to increase effectiveness of community groups • to be a regional voice on

    Read More
  • Join the Friends of COSS

    The Coastal Open Space System (COSS) is a network of reserves supporting natural vegetation that are managed by Gosford Council for a number of environmental and community values. COSS lands provide important ecological habitats (or homes) and essential linkages (wildlife corridors) for diverse fauna and flora. These natural areas are

    Read More
  • Chair's Update - The Three CCC's

    Whenever I go into the CEN office located at Ourimbah campus, to attend meetings or catch up on tasks as the volunteer in chief, I am always greeted by the wonderful energy of community members in our centre.  It is great to catch up with staff and the inspirational work

    Read More
  • Chair's Update- It Takes A Village

    It Takes A Village ... Is originally, an African proverb. We have all heard it and understand that raising children and the next generation requires multiple members of the community, such as extended family, teachers, mentors, surrogate family members and friends to support and help them develop. Parents are not enough,

    Read More
  • Call for Submissions- CC Council Draft Waste Resource Management Strategy 2020-2030

    CEN would like to remind the Community and CEN Members that The Central Coast Council's Draft Waste Resource Management Strategy is currently open for Public Exhibition.   https://www.yourvoiceourcoast.com/our-coast-our-waste The team at Community Environment Network hosted a discussion with Kariong Eco Garden about the Strategy.Check out CEN's facebook page for some more

    Read More
  • Chair's Update- Local Systems

    Local Systems As a member of the Local Futures network a global organisation that recognises, that the future lies with the local community. We share ideas, stories and models of operating that work in our localities with the aim of developing socially inclusive and sustainable communities. So, we understand, that

    Read More
  • Volunteer positions available at our Wildplant Community Nursery - Ourimbah

    We are looking for nursery hand volunteers to assist the nursery coordinator at our Ourimbah Wildplant Community Nursery 2-15hrs a week.   Duties include: watering, tidying, weeding of plants, stocktake, preparing plant orders and labelling. No experience needed, onsite training provided.   Please contact CEN if you are interested.  Nursery hand Volunteer

    Read More
  • Submissions required- Central Coast Council's first draft Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) is on exhibition until the 8th June

    Central Coast Council's first draft Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) is on exhibition until the 8th June. This is an important document as it will strongly influence if not direct how and where local development will take place over the next 20 years If you want to have a say on the

    Read More
  • COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

    The CEN office is closed to the public until further notice. There will be skeleton staff working at the office, if you have any queries related to CEN please contact us via email or phone.  02 4349 4756 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Read More
  • Chair's Update - Health Crisis?

    Health Crisis? The recent outbreak of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has forced authorities to take measures to practice self-isolation and physical distancing. So hence CEN has had to cancel its upcoming events, that engage us with our natural environment and each other through our numerous programs. As well as being a

    Read More
  • Chair's Update - Imagine

    The year is 2050 and our Central Coast Youth are now leading in their respective fields in our communities across the coast. The transition to renewable energy production is now complete, the local economies are interdependent on sustainable industries, run and owned locally. Community gardens are a hive of activity and

    Read More
  • Chair's Update - Community Healing

    If you think about our first response to emergencies and disasters, we generally look out for our fellow community members. We offer them shelter, feed and care for them, it’s in our DNA, we just do it automatically without giving it much thought. Recently, a wider cross section of our

    Read More
  • Chair's Update - Human Nature

    Depending on who you ask, ‘what is human nature?’ You’ll receive a completely different response. The lens with which the world is viewed is the key here. An economist may say human nature is to strive for development and growth, a health practitioner may say human nature is to strive

    Read More
  • CEN Networking Night and BAT Award Winners

    Last night, 28 November was CEN’s End of Year get-together where we celebrated together the achievements of this past year. We also presented the 2019 Be a Team (BAT) Awards and CEN Staff gave a brief update on their activities for the year. The 2019 winners are: Most outstanding all-rounder “BAT”

    Read More
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Contact details

CALL 02 4349 4756

FAX 02 4349 4755

PO Box 149 Ourimbah NSW 2258

CEN OFFICES
The Manor, Central Coast Campus
University of Newcaste
Brush Road Ourimbah
NSW

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