A community action group, Mollymook Says, has been created to implore the NSW Government Department of Education and Training to stop the sale of land previously earmarked for a primary school on Garside Road, Mollymook Beach.
The 2.731 hectare/6.75 acres forested site is scheduled for auction in Wollongong on Wednesday, March 10 but the action group, led by local resident Liz O'Connell, is "hell-bent on stopping the sale".
"It's all about saving our precious bushland," Ms O'Connell said.
"We are witnessing 'Death by a Thousand Cuts' to our remaining patches of still standing, unburnt, urban bushland.
"Such land is an increasingly important refuge for all creatures, including humans. This patch of bush is heavily utilised by Mollymook locals for walking, playing and bike riding, especially by the children."
The land, owned by the Department of Education and Training at 98 Garside was originally slated as the site for a proposed primary school - much needed in the community.
This, however, has recently been cancelled and the proposed sale of the Garside property comes after the department purchased a larger school site in neighbouring Milton, according to Mollymook Says.
The group says the land has environmental importance and many others in the community agree.
"The 2.73 site of tall blackbutt-turpentine wet sclerophyll forest is being marketed as a "prime residential subdivision opportunity," Ms O'Connell said.
"The land parcel poses important environmental considerations as 80 percent of the Shoalhaven region was burnt in last summer's horrific bushfires.
"Currently, the urban and peri-urban area of the Mollymook/ Milton /Ulladulla/ Burrill Lake area is a very small unburnt patch surrounded by enormous areas of burnt forest.
"Small pockets of intact native vegetation within these areas have become vital refuges for wildlife. Selling this intact parcel of tall wet sclerophyll forest for a residential subdivision is totally inappropriate at this time."
The flora and fauna assessment of this site in 2017 described the area as a forest "with potential foraging and sheltering habitat including logs and debris, tree sap sources, some Allocasuarina and tree hollows. (See documents Shoalhaven City Council website for Development Proposal SF10634).
The group says Shoalhaven City Council's assessment of the proposed subdivision of the site expressed concern about "comprehensive clearing, removal of hollow-bearing trees or any future clearing" of the site, primarily because of its value for powerful owls.
"There is considerable potential impact to the incremental and cumulative loss of foraging habitat for large forest owls in the Mollymook /Narrawallee area," Ms O'Connell said.
"The proposed sale of 98 Garside for residential development will involve the removal of the vegetation.
"An updated flora and fauna assessment of the site in view of the impacts on wildlife from last summer's bushfires is urgently required, and it should also provide guidelines on what environmental offsets need to be in place if this site is cleared."
Mollymook Says urges the government to be sympathetic to the voice of the Mollymook community and stop the sale now.
"Once gone, it can never be recovered and this is the community's last chance to save this land for future generations," Ms O'Connell said.
The land goes up for auction on March 10.