Development near Boat Harbour shacks may threaten birds and marine life

PROPOSED development around Boat Harbour on the Kurnell peninsula would threaten bird and marine life and potentially breach Australia's international obligations, conservationists say.

National Parks Association (Southern Sydney branch) called on Cronulla MP Mark Speakman, NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes and Sutherland Shire Council to oppose the plan.

The Holt family-owned company Besmaw wants to build up to 2000 homes, a large shopping complex and business park on extensive, former sand mining sites.

Breen Properties wants to develop adjoining land for more homes.

Negotiations will take place with Sutherland Shire Council and the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

Gary Schoer, secretary of the National Parks Association (Southern Sydney branch), said in a statement it opposed the development of the land around Boat harbour in the late 1980s when a resort was approved.

It had protested again two years ago when plans to develop the area resurfaced.

"We continue to believe that the Boat Harbour site is of immense significance to wildlife," the association said.

It said the site was a regular roosting spot for a variety of waders, which were protected under various bilateral migratory bird agreements with Japan, Korea and China.

The association said a recently published online book, Common Shorebirds of Kurnell, Boat Harbour by Ricki Coughlan, detailed the many migratory and non-migratory shorebirds ‘‘that call Boat Harbour home and depend on the area for nesting, roosting and some feeding activities’’. 

‘‘The fact that a whole book can be written on just one location on the Kurnell peninsula highlights the potential risk of using this area as a focus for major tourism or residential development,’’ it said.

The association said Boat Harbour’s status as an aquatic reserve did not prevent fishing, but protected the many invertebrates on which fish and certain shore birds might depend.

‘‘These values would be compromised by creating a new population centre at Boat Harbour,’’ the statement said.


The possibility of a new access road being built through the Wanda Reserve and along the peninsula is among the association’s concerns.

‘‘This would alienate public lands and severely compromise the recreational values of that reserve for the Cronulla population,’’ the association warned.

Do you share the concerns, or do you support the proposed development?