Public exhibition of the draft variation provided an opportunity for members of the community to view relevant documents and provide feedback on the proposed changes. Submissions closed 16 December 2018.
What is a conservation agreement?
A conservation agreement is a joint agreement between landholders (in this case Shellharbour City Council) and the Minister for the Environment. The agreement is voluntary and provides permanent protection for important native vegetation and special landscape values.
The area under the agreement is registered on the title of the land, ensuring that, if the land is sold, the agreement and management requirements remain in place. The Croom Reserve Conservation Agreement incorporates 22 hectares of open forest including several threatened species.
Why is it being varied?
Roads and Maritime Services will soon begin work on the extension of the M1 Princes Motorway to bypass the suburb of Albion Park Rail.
After consideration of all practical alternatives, the project will impact on a small portion (0.17 hectares) of land within Croom Reserve, owned by Shellharbour City Council and subject to the Croom Reserve Conservation Agreement.
The in perpetuity conservation of Croom Reserve will continue with a formal Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement to be entered into between Council and the Roads and Maritime Services as per the project approval for the M1 Princes Motorway extension issued by the Department of Planning which can be found at Major Project Assessments.
The Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement is currently in preparation and will replace the Conservation Agreement. The new Agreement will cover a larger area than what is currently protected under the Conservation Agreement and will offset the impact of removing 0.17 hectares of bushland subject of this variation. The Biodiversity Stewardship Agreement, will ensure the management of the reserve is funded into the future.
Section 69(2) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, allows a conservation agreement to be varied by a subsequent agreement between all parties to the agreement. A draft variation to the conservation agreement has been prepared by the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, in consultation with the Office of Environment and Heritage, Shellharbour City Council and Roads and Maritime.
When will the variation be finalised?
At the end of the public exhibition period, the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust, in consultation with Shellharbour City Council and Roads and Maritime Services, will review all submissions and prepare a submissions report for the Minister of the Environment to consider. The variation is expected to be finalised in early 2019.
How can I get more information about the variation?
For further information on the variation please contact Adam Hook, Senior Landholder Support Officer, NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust on 0427 203 919 or Tuesday Heather, Manager Environment, Shellharbour City Council on 02 4221 6247.