Claims of rare bird on Lot 490
THE alleged sighting of the critically endangered Beach Stone Curlew at Cudgen Creek within a few hundred metres of a proposed resort development at Kingscliff has residents taking their objections to the project a step further.
Residents were out in force last Thursday when the Planning Assessment Commission held a public meeting at Kingscliff Bowls Club to address their concerns.
The commission sent two representatives, Abigail Goldberg and Paul Forward, to listen to the concerns about the Lot 490 project that could see a tourist complex spreading from the beach through to the Cudgen Creek.
Since then, local amateur photographer Rayma Sargeant claims she has photographed the Beach Stone Curlew on the banks of the nearby Cudgen Creek.
She took seven photographs and sent them to the Murwillumbah branch of the Department of Environment.
"This bird has been positively identified as a Beach Stone Curlew," resident Jerry Cornford said.
"We will be presenting this new information to the commissioners."
A supplementary submission was presented to the Planning Assessment Commission on Monday with further information and a call to consider the development's impact on the bird..
A 2008 NSW Scientific Committee review lists the species as critically endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
The report states that there are only 16 of the large thick-set shorebirds left in NSW, with their breeding ground confined to the North Coast.
"Much of the Beach Stone Curlew's littoral and estuarine habitat in NSW has been destroyed or degraded by coastal development," states the review.
National Parks spokesman Lawrence Orel said proponents of the development need to look into the impact of their project and provide processes to address or reduce any identified impact on threatened species.
"At this stage, the Department of Planning is considering the proposal and will make their decision," he said.
Mr Cornford said the bird feeds on crabs and other small crustaceans.
"We are concerned about the impact the development on Lot 490 will have on the feeding and habitat of this species, considering there are only 16 left in NSW," he said.
A spokesperson for the Planning Assessment Commission said they could not provide any comment at this stage and were considering the information provided.
They are unsure when a decision will be reached.