Community group Mollymook Says is appalled about the lack of public consultation when it comes to the proposed sale of piece of land on Garside Road.
The 2.731 hectares/6.75 acres forested site at 98 Garside Road, Mollymook Beach, previously
earmarked by the Education Department for a primary school, is set for auction in Wollongong on Wednesday10 March. Marketed as "Development Sites and Land" and "Prime residential subdivision Opportunity".
Mollymook Says claims rezoning would need to occur, resulting in the land being stripped bare and carved up into numerous suburban blocks.
Local residents are up in arms and have vowed to fight to stop the sale of this last remaining parcel of forested land.
A hastily arranged community action committee was formed and they questioned the due process and lack of community consultation.
"Where is the community consultation?" asked Mollymook Says organiser, Liz O'Connell.
"How can this land be sold as a "development opportunity" given it is zoned "Special Purpose 2 - to provide for infrastructure and related uses"; and, "to prevent development that is not compatible with or that may detract from the provision of infrastructure".
The group will fight the NSW Government to stop the sale in order to leave the trees where they are.
While Mollymook was spared the wrath of the devastating Currowan bushfire which engulfed the region a year ago taking 89 homes in neighbouring Conjola Park, many locals are still traumatised by the events of a year ago and feel this decision to sell has arisen quietly and quickly, with little regard for the community.
Related: Sale is death by 1000 cuts
"With relocation numbers booming, development in the area is progressing at a steady rate and local infrastructure cannot cope," Ms O'Connell said.
"The primary and high schools of Ulladulla and Milton are over their capacity, the area is still reeling from the Currowan fire losses, the impact on the community members and environment and the effects of COVID 19 on local businesses - something needs to give!"
Infuriated locals believe a due process has not been undertaken and are pleading with the government to stop the sale and undertake community consultation to better manage the almost three-hectare allotment.
Mollymook Says also urges the government to consider the environmental impact of potential development.
"With 80 percent of the Shoalhaven region burnt last summer, small pockets of intact native vegetation such as this have become vital refuges for wildlife," Ms O'Connell said.
"Environmentally, to sell this intact parcel of tall wet sclerophyll forest where masses of displaced wildlife seek refuge for a residential subdivision is totally inappropriate at this time."
Many Mollymook locals walk its paths and the young people of the area use it for mountain-biking.
Shoalhaven Mayor Amanda Findley recently spent some time outside the now-fenced off land.
"The young people were only too happy to talk," Mayor Findley said.
"They have been locked out of their play space and are pretty cranky about it. The kids who use it for their mountain biking demonstrate the value of this land for passive recreation."
Mollymook Says is asking that the NSW Government Department of Education and Training stop the sale of the land immediately and reassess the current and future education needs for the region, perhaps even considering the use of this parcel of land as a 'green outdoor learning space'.
As at June 2019, according to Mollymooks Says, the population of the Ulladulla area, including Milton, Mollymook, Narrawallee and south to Dolphin Point was 16,495, with an average growth rate of 1.66 percent over the preceding five years, which the group claims is significantly higher than the average growth rate of New South Wales.
"There is a desperate need for additional public education facilities here," Ms O'Connell said.
"So it makes no sense to sell this site unless and until firm plans are in place to provide more facilities.
"This should be retained as public land. The sale of it at this time is not going to benefit our community."