A group of Forster residents is questioning MidCoast Council’s decision to erect a wind fence in Burgess Road.
According to council, the fence forms part of on-going restoration works at Burgess Beach which began in 2012.
Residents were told the purpose of the fence was to protect native vegetation in the area and allow bush regeneration works to proceed.
The reserve has been identified and mapped by the State Government as ‘littoral rainforest’ which is protected under State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018, planning and natural systems acting director, Paul De Szell explained.
Littoral rainforest also has been identified as an endangered ecological community under both the Commonwealth Environmental Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.
However, this has not satisfied property owners who front the 50 metre long by one metre high ‘temporary’ fence, which is covered in green meshing.
While residents agree with council’s policy of protecting the environment, they challenge the fence has been designed to allow bush regeneration and describe it as an eyesore.
When Barbara Byrnes moved permanently to the Great Lakes 16 years ago she enjoyed unhindered views of the ocean.
“We bought with the view in mind,” Mrs Byrnes said.
She also asked why an existing post and rail fence on the remaining section of Burgess Road was not replicated and believed much of the newly protected area was mainly weeds.
Fellow resident, Bill Ifland claimed winds were not an issue along this section of Burgess Road.
“The winds prevail from the north to south east,” Mr Ifland said.
“When the wind comes from the south we are protected and when it comes from the west it shoots over the house.
“We are green, we want to see the trees here.”
When Rosemary Ryan moved to Forster eight years ago the reserve opposite her house was devoid of vegetation and offered a view of the ocean.
However, she believes flying foxes have spread weeds – including lantana – which now fill the reserve.
“Council has established an ongoing bush regeneration program within the reserve, and the wind fence is considered to be a cost effective barrier to provide protection to the regenerating rainforest,” Mr De Szell said.
“It is anticipated the wind fence will be in place for a period of 2-5 years while the vegetation regenerates.
“Council staff have met with residents and understands there are concerns about the material used in the fence, and will be working with residents to bring about an outcome that is suitable to all parties.”
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