A group of Mullumbimby Tallowood Ridge residents say they were advised during the sale that the ridgeline would be reserved as a wildlife corridor, a claim that is disputed by one of the developers, Eric Freeman.
The newly formed Tallowood Ridge Community Association say they are concerned that a three-lot subdivision along the estate’s ridgeline – called Stage 3C – may result in the removal of large trees by future lot owners to protect assets from fire and storm damage or building of sheds and granny flats at a later date.
In a statement, the residents say some of the old-growth trees on the ridge have already been fenced into private backyards, which prevents the general community from having access and fractures the existing wildlife corridor.
Resident Diane Hart said, ‘It’s a shame we can no longer wander through the trees on the ridgeline, which are now in yards. With no large trees along the rest of the gully it has been a beautiful place to walk and have picnics for many years. It would be very sad to see this kind of thing continue along the ridge. We want it to be available for the community and wildlife.’
Council’s executive manager of planning, Ray Darney, told The Echo that Council had recently received a modification to a previous approval for Tallowood Ridge.
‘Located near the ridge, the application is seeking to split a single block into three sites. Previously permission had been given for a single block only, due to the close proximity to the tree line.
‘The application is still being assessed and has not been approved or refused. If property buyers are considering these blocks, they need to be aware that there is no guarantee that they will be approved and need to read all contracts carefully,’ he said.
Meanwhile developer Eric Freeman told The Echo, ‘As part of the current Stage 3A release, Tallowood is dedicating the last, missing piece of the ridgeline road reserve (Lot 78 on the Plan), as part of the “Shelter Belt”.
‘The land we are dedicating is zoned 2(a) Urban Residential and is being dedicated as public open space. This completes the Shelter Belt along the ridgeline.
‘No native trees have been or will be removed from the Shelter Belt. In fact, quite the opposite: we will continue the rehabilitation of the Shelter Belt, stage by stage. We started by planting native trees in the Shelter Belt above stage one.
‘In the past three months, we completed the planting and mulching of a further 5,000 native trees along both banks of Tallowood Creek – this as a continuation of the 6,000 native trees we planted along both banks in Stage Two of Tallowood Ridge.
‘The Shelter Belt above Stage 3A is now completed and approved by Council.
‘All of the Tallowood and other native trees within the proposed three lots in Stage 3C are protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Management Plan (BCMP) approved by Council in December 2011 and cannot be removed.’