Residents in Bundeena bush rally to save ''paper road'' on edge of Royal

Gully brigade: Upper House Greens member David Shoebridge recently toured Spring Gully at Bundeena, which Scouts Australia NSW has sold to a private developer. Picture: Chris Lane
Gully brigade: Upper House Greens member David Shoebridge recently toured Spring Gully at Bundeena, which Scouts Australia NSW has sold to a private developer. Picture: Chris Lane

BUNDEENA residents took part in a recent rally against a proposal to sell a publicly-owned "paper road" on the edge of the Royal National Park.

RVA Australia Pty Ltd bought 5.6 hectares of land from Scouts Australia NSW at 60-70 Bournemouth Street, Bundeena, to develop a small-scale eco-tourism resort on the site known as Spring Gully.

RVA also wants to buy Sussex Street, which runs along a ridge on the southern side of the site, and incorporate it into the property to use as a caretaker's block.

Upper House Greens member David Shoebridge toured the site recently and said the bushland was remarkably intact.

"Given that it is directly adjacent to the national park, the best outcome would be for it to form part of the national park," he said.

"The scheme as presented is deeply troubling, given the amount of clearing that will be required."

Sussex Street is a "paper road" — an unformed road that exists on a map and has not been constructed. Because the road was set in the subdivision plan pre-1920, the street's ownership has not been clarified.

Sutherland Shire Council received 290 responses, all opposing the sale of Sussex Street, after sending out letters to 20 landholders whose properties adjoin Spring Gully. No correspondence received was in favour of the sale.

More than 272 people said Sussex Street was the site of an old growth forest of bloodwood mallee trees and 278 submissions said the public land should remain in public ownership and not be sold to a private developer.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service wants to include Sussex Street in part of a pre-arranged land swap it is undertaking with the council. This would see the council and wildlife service swap a sanitation depot for three playing fields elsewhere in the shire.

The Spring Gully Protection Group offered to buy the former Scouts land from its current owner to donate to the service.

Group spokesman Mark Da Silva said Bundeena residents would approach any talks with an open mind but the area needed protection.

"The problem is this is bushfire-prone land and we don't know what the Rural Fire Service will require for clearing the land," he said.

"We don't want to see Spring Gully and the Sussex Street ridge-line deforested to create an asset-protection zone around development."

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