The claimed sighting of a critically-endangered bird at Cudgen Creek last month has prompted a late appeal to the state planning commission to consider the impact on the species of a controversial resort development south of Kingscliff known as Lot 490.
There is believed to be only 16 of the critically endangered Beach Stone-curlews surviving in NSW, and a local was able to photograph one at Cudgen Creek, the day before the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) hearing on July 26 at Kingscliff Bowls Club.
Spokesman for community watchdog group Tweed Monitor, Jerry Cornford, told the PAC in the late submission that local amateur photographer Rayma Sargeant claimed to have photographed the bird on the creek bank near the proposed resort site on beachfront Crown land.
He said she took seven photographs and sent them to the Murwillumbah office of the environment department and the bird was positively identified as a Beach Stone-curlew (Esacus neglectus).
The species is listed in a 2008 NSW Scientific Committee review as critically endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
The shorebird’s breeding ground is confined to the NSW north coast.
The review says that much of its littoral and estuarine habitat in NSW has been ‘destroyed or degraded by coastal development’.
Mr Cornford said ‘these shorebirds feed on crabs and other small crustaceans, and thus we are concerned about the impact that development on Lot 490 will have on the feeding and nesting habitat of this species’.
He also told the PAC that it should also consider the public interest in that
several hundred petition signatures and more than 1,500 form letters opposing the development were collected and sent to relevant departments and ministers asx well as tabled in parliament by Tweed MP Geoff Provest.
‘Yet there is not a single listing of these petitions or letters under the Summary of Public Submissions, nor is there any reference to their being tabled in parliament,’ he said.