F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Park

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F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Park

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 2:55 pm

News regarding a proposal for routing the F6 through part of the Royal National Park.
From The Sydney Morning Herald
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/f6-extension- ... wq6ba.html
The Sydney Morning Herald
EXCLUSIVE
JUNE 14 2017 - 6:26AM

F6 Extension to mean bulldozing 460 homes or cutting through the National Park

Peter Martin

The NSW government is considering acquiring 60 hectares of the Royal National Park for the proposed F6 Extension between Sydney and the Illawarra.

The alternative, according to an internal government report, is the acquisition and bulldozing of about 460 houses and 40 commercial properties between Loftus and Waterfall at the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Roads and Maritime Authority believes it can acquire the 60 hectares of the Royal National Park for about $40 million.

Fairfax Media has seen the property acquisition and communications plans for F6 motorway, planning funds for which will be included in next week's budget.

The documents indicate that construction of the motorway could start as soon as 2019, and they include a step-by-step guide to managing community relations as it is planned and built.

The say messaging about the national park will "need careful management".

The 16,000-hectare national park is Australia's first, and the second in the world after Yellowstone National Park in the United States. The Commonwealth Department of Environment says it is home to one of the richest concentrations of plant species in temperate Australia. It was placed on the National Heritage List in 2006.

The communications plan says Roads and Maritime Services has briefed the Office of Environment and Heritage on topics including the "Royal National Park" and "Sensitive Georges River Wetlands".

The government would only need to acquire about 60 private residential properties to complete the rest of the tollway between St Peters and Loftus at an estimated cost of about $120 million, or $2 million per house. Most are in Sans Souci and Miranda. Many of the addresses are in Meriel Street, Sans Souci, Taren Point Road, and Gwawley Parade Miranda.
About 200 properties at present zoned for roadworks would not be required and could have the zoning lifted.

The Herald applied for but was denied access to the document under the Government Information (Public Access) Act on the ground that it was prepared for the dominant purpose of being submitted to cabinet, "and was in fact submitted to Cabinet".

A spokesman for Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said on Tuesday that no decision had been made regarding the final alignment or form of the F6 Extension.

"The government has not yet decided when corridor recommendations will be made," he said. "The community will continue to be kept informed at key stages of the project."

Next week's budget will allocate a further $15 million for planning work on the F6. In December the government allocated $20 million for geotechnical testing.

The government has not confirmed when or if construction will start on the project. The documents seen by Fairfax, however, assume that an environmental impact statement will be prepared soon.

They say it will take a minimum of 18 months to acquire each property, either by negotiation or compulsory acquisition, should agreement not be reached.

"Given current public and political sentiment arising from the WestConnex property acquisition program, there is unlikely to be much political appetite for reducing the duration of the acquisition program," the acquisition plan says.

A Transport for NSW memo released earlier under the Public Access Act says the difference between the cost of the proposed F6 Extension and an alternative cheaper proposal that would cut the time taken to travel from Sydney to Wollongong by train from 90 minutes to 65 is "sufficient to construct the equivalent of almost three Snowy Mountains Hydro Schemes".

The communications plan says if the alternative of an improved rail connection is raised by the media or stakeholders, the appropriate response is to say that although the idea was commended in an earlier transport master plan, "subsequent studies have not been supportive of an immediate start".

A draft Q&A for fielding questions from the media avoids mention of the rail proposal of the Royal National Park saying "the study is in its early stages and the community will be kept up to date as plans progress".

It says it is "too early to speculate" on the potential cost or on whether the road would be tolled.

The six-phase communications plan would begin with a "low key, matter of fact" letter to residents affected by geological testing that does not mention the F6 extension.

"Key influencers / key commentators" would be given early one-on-one briefings as soon as practicable.

The briefings would be confidential, "but would allow the senior stakeholders to provide informed comment on the project if the need arises", the communications plan says.

Among the named key influencers are Paul Forward, a former head of the Roads and Traffic Authority identified as an "influential transport commentator", the head of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Brendan Lyon, identified as a "thought leader", and the head of the Sydney Business Chamber Patricia Forsythe, identified as a "strong supporter".

Asked on Tuesday whether the F6 Extension would be built, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said her government loved "the challenge of building projects that have been in the too-hard basket for too long".
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 3:04 pm

Read that this morning and 60 hectares! Why do I suspect RNP will lose out against the number of home owners otherwise affected?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 3:22 pm

I think this has been proposed and rejected previously. From a legislative perspective, lots will depend on the proposed route and how it impacts any threatened species before they could cut into the park. Also, given the popularity of the park, this could cause a huge public backlash. But then again, governments are happy ramming through environmentally destructive policy against scientific and legal advice and/or social licence in recent times, so who knows?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 3:36 pm

Fingers crossed.
Just move it!
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 3:49 pm

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr's view on the proposal on ABC radio -> http://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/prog ... rr/8616452
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Nuts » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 4:10 pm

No interest from the Chinese contingent then.

Good on Bob. A precedent. And at some stage this notion needs to evolve further (most likely a crowning moment from some future luminary), to integrity shown to all such developments big or small.

Crisis of not getting somewhere quicker and easier, free of hot showers, therapy pools and Chardonnay.
'Boundaries' from generation to generation and beyond attacks such precedents underpin.

Deplorable to test the waters leaning on the heartache of communities or angst of local nature lovers. Subterfuge just doesn't seem to work out well for pollies these days.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 8:07 pm

Nuts wrote:...
Crisis of not getting somewhere quicker and easier, free of hot showers, therapy pools and Chardonnay.
'Boundaries' from generation to generation and beyond attacks such precedents underpin.
Deplorable to test the waters leaning on the heartache of communities or angst of local nature lovers...

Yeah, I think that there is a bit of a tried and tested divide and conquer approach that forces people to side with either the community whose houses could be threatened, or those who don't want to see more highway cutting into the National Park. ANd speaking of boundaries from an intergenerational point of view, by all accounts there could potentially less vehicles on the road as vehicle sharing apps take off, autonomous cars, better internet and more people working from home. I wonder if planning is taking this into consideration? Additional highway may be redundant by the time any highway is completed. Perhaps they should sit on this one for the next 30 or so years. Not like they haven't done that before...cough Badgery's Creek airport cough!
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 8:21 pm

Curious to find out how they have planned the routes through the RNP and through residential areas. Just how much encroachment they planned?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 8:39 pm

There has long been plans for motorway down the suburbs on the western side of Botany Bay, and into the Sutherland Shire, which have been reserved as a corridor of parks through the suburbs. I guess where these reserves end at Loftus they will want to cut along the edge of the park, probably alongside the existing Princess Highway and further down near Yarrawarrah, along the rail line. I imagine it will be a thin strip, but the highway will need to either fly-over or under the two entrances on the park’s western edges, and who knows what they will do at Heathcote and Waterfall. 60 ha isn’t really a large area in the scheme of things, but just adds to the destruction, fragmentation and isolation of habitat…death by a thousand cuts and all that.
Anyway, there is some government information here, but not very detailed yet -> http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/projects/sydn ... index.html
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby ribuck » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 8:44 pm

I would accept a trade of 60 ha of RNP in return for some equal or greater advantage. For example, say, re-wilding of Narrowneck.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 8:51 pm

ribuck wrote:I would accept a trade of 60 ha of RNP in return for some equal or greater advantage. For example, say, re-wilding of Narrowneck.

That's hardly a trade. Kinda in the same vein that ecological offsets are smoke and mirrors conservation. Save one natural area at the expense of another, when both should/could be protected...
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby GPSGuided » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 9:15 pm

So it's primarily just widening of the existing Princess Hwy and that would make sense. Cutting a new route through RNP would see too much undulations. Thanks for the link Pteropus.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 9:30 pm

The details are vague, but the use of the term "motorway" may suggest they want to put in a separate motorway rather than just widen the existing highway. The vagueness and secrecy is part of the problem. Especially given that they are talking of acquiring people's property and running it through the national park. As suggested elsewhere, given the Westconnex routing changes and associated debacles, a precedent has been set and it must be a night mare for some.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby ribuck » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 11:23 pm

Pteropus wrote:
ribuck wrote:I would accept a trade of 60 ha of RNP in return for some equal or greater advantage. For example, say, re-wilding of Narrowneck.

That's hardly a trade. Kinda in the same vein that ecological offsets are smoke and mirrors conservation. Save one natural area at the expense of another, when both should/could be protected...

The idea of a trade is to end up with something that's better (overall) for the environment, and also better for those people who want to drive places quickly and efficiently.

If every project could be bundled into some kind of overall incremental improvement, things would get inexorably better over time.

Pteropus, if there was some environmental improvement which was worth more to you than the environmental degradation of 60ha of RNP, wouldn't you want to make the trade? Or would you say "If I can't have everything I want, I won't accept any of it"?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby ribuck » Wed 14 Jun, 2017 11:27 pm

Incidentally, the park is 15091 hectares, so 60 hectares is 0.4% of it.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Nuts » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 10:41 am

I'm not sure what Bob's alternate plan was? Can recall him spruiking rail upgrades at one stage. That required no incursion to the park or residents.

If they have a serious concern for conservation, why not an impact assessment first and foremost (rather than geophysics sampling).
No habitat impact will be strong enough to stop a project?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 12:35 pm

ribuck wrote:
Pteropus wrote:
ribuck wrote:I would accept a trade of 60 ha of RNP in return for some equal or greater advantage. For example, say, re-wilding of Narrowneck.

That's hardly a trade. Kinda in the same vein that ecological offsets are smoke and mirrors conservation. Save one natural area at the expense of another, when both should/could be protected...

The idea of a trade is to end up with something that's better (overall) for the environment, and also better for those people who want to drive places quickly and efficiently.

If every project could be bundled into some kind of overall incremental improvement, things would get inexorably better over time.

Pteropus, if there was some environmental improvement which was worth more to you than the environmental degradation of 60ha of RNP, wouldn't you want to make the trade? Or would you say "If I can't have everything I want, I won't accept any of it"?


Trade-off between protecting one area over another in this situation is a moot point. It hasn’t even been suggested and highly unlikely to be an option. But your suggestion reminds me of a quote by the developer Harry Triguboff of Meriton, who once said in an interview "You go north and we have all these reserves and you go south and you have all the reserves, and they are the best part of the coast. That is crazy. We should be building on this area. If they want to see trees, they can go to Katoomba, there are plenty of trees there."

The small area of national park they want to acquire is not irrelevant though, since the impact will be far greater than simply removing 60 ha of veg and displacing native animals. Building a freeway through any area of natural vegetation is not trivial, even if the area of the road is not that great compared to the total area of veg. The impacts of freeways as a barrier and sink (i.e., death trap) for animal populations, and associated edge effects is very well known. Not to mention increased pollution into natural areas, including weeds and runoff from the roads, plus noise and visual impacts.

I think a question here though is do we accept increased encroachment of development into any of our national parks that does not actually improve the park itself? After all, if an area becomes degraded because of a small amount of development here and there, then what's to stop further incursion beyond those areas in the future simply because the functionality of the surrounding ecosystem has been lost? An old saying comes to mind, "Give an inch and they'll take a mile"...
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 12:42 pm

Nuts wrote:I'm not sure what Bob's alternate plan was? Can recall him spruiking rail upgrades at one stage. That required no incursion to the park or residents.

If they have a serious concern for conservation, why not an impact assessment first and foremost (rather than geophysics sampling).
No habitat impact will be strong enough to stop a project?

I doubt Bob Carr has much influence these days, but his passion for the bush is well known.
I guess the geotechnical surveys are a formality for any project so the engineers can draw up plans, whether they end up being used or not. Nothing proceeds without plans. I'm sure impact assessments will come as part of the process later.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Mark F » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 1:24 pm

I don't think this would be a severe problem if it stuck to the railway line boundary, but the serious part is where the extension would dive over 1km into the park to get around the extrusion of Heathcote onto the eastern side of the railway.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby ribuck » Thu 15 Jun, 2017 5:08 pm

Mark F wrote:...the serious part is where the extension would dive over 1km into the park to get around the extrusion of Heathcote onto the eastern side of the railway.

That part could be built as an overpass above the existing highway. This wouldn't be popular with the Heathcote residents of course.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby johnw » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 1:45 am

Note: I have obtained site owner and site mod permission to post this information.

Just an aside for anyone who wishes to register their opposition to this proposal.
Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales has launched an online petition to register opposition to this proposal. It opposes any moves by the NSW Government to remove bushland from Royal NP and calls on the government to rule out removing any vegetation to make way for any new road projects (in this instance impacting Royal NP).

Save our Royal National Park

I have signed it. This is one of my local parks and I am passionately against the possibility of what has been outlined. As Pteropus implied earlier, I think it will be the thin end of the wedge and RNP is already under enough pressure from the impacts of urban development. It is a key natural area in Sydney that is worth preserving intact in my opinion. I was bushwalking there on Sunday, which reminded me of the importance of leaving it as is. Or preferably acquiring additional land to help create a contiguous wildlife corridor.

Pteropus wrote:The small area of national park they want to acquire is not irrelevant though, since the impact will be far greater than simply removing 60 ha of veg and displacing native animals. Building a freeway through any area of natural vegetation is not trivial, even if the area of the road is not that great compared to the total area of veg. The impacts of freeways as a barrier and sink (i.e., death trap) for animal populations, and associated edge effects is very well known. Not to mention increased pollution into natural areas, including weeds and runoff from the roads, plus noise and visual impacts.
Agreed. Some time ago I read a very comprehensive report on the state of Royal NP (and associated reserves) that discussed many of these issues, if I can find it...
Last edited by johnw on Tue 20 Jun, 2017 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Nuts » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 11:49 am

Sanctity for our park boundaries is a national concern. Signed 4596.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby johnw » Mon 19 Jun, 2017 9:59 pm

Nuts wrote:Sanctity for our park boundaries is a national concern. Signed 4596.

Thanks Nuts. Yes totally agree, have and will continue to support similar concerns in Tassie and other states.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby climberman » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 12:10 am

johnw wrote:and calls on the government to rule out removing any vegetation to make way for any new road projects.


Really?
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Nuts » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 10:51 am

Yes! (just sign)
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby johnw » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 1:53 pm

climberman wrote:
johnw wrote:and calls on the government to rule out removing any vegetation to make way for any new road projects.


Really?

Yeah OK, fixed. The wording could have been less ambiguous but I think the spirit of intent is clear in the linked page.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Tue 20 Jun, 2017 2:03 pm

Good one John.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Pteropus » Mon 03 Jul, 2017 1:22 pm

Article from the Illawarra Mercury

http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/stor ... -on-again/

Illawarra Mercury
We of the 'Never Ever': defending the Royal National Park
Ben Langford
1 Jun 2017, 8:30 a.m.


While the Premier appeared to rule out a road through the Royal. National Park, its biggest fans have seen it all before. They are readying themselves to once more defend their favourite place. For the defenders of the Royal National Park, it’s on again.

And perhaps it was always going to be this way, given the park’s location on the edge of a city which is not just the nation’s largest, but also its fastest, most demanding, and let’s be honest, its greediest.

This time round it’s a so-far vague proposal from transport bureaucrats to cut off about 60 hectares of the Royal to extend the F6 motorway and make the drive between Wollongong and Sydney a bit quicker.

The threat from the government is that it might be either slice off part of the Royal, or demolish 460 houses, to make it happen.

Many people had assumed that being a national park meant the land could not be touched. That was the difference, they thought, between a national park and a suburban dog park – you can’t touch it.

But it has happened before in the history of the Royal, Australia’s first national park and, depending on who’s counting, perhaps the second in the world.

While the public isn’t being shown any route, it’s believed to resemble a plan from the 1970s that involved cutting into bushland near the Sutherland bypass, perhaps curling east then south of Heathcote to meet up with the Princes Hwy.

And while transport department files obtained by Fairfax Media show the motorway would be considerably more expensive than a major railway upgrade, it’s the road getting the headlines.

Comments from Premier Gladys Berejiklian that she would “never, ever” damage the park appear to give strong hope to those seeking to preserve the park. But it is unclear whether they can be taken at face value.

At a media event related to the WestConnex project two weeks ago, Ms Berejiklian was asked by Sydney Morning Herald transport reporter Matt O’Sullivan about the Royal National Park proposal.

The Premier replied that the Government would “never ever, ever, damage that precious heritage national park”.

The Mercury asked Ms Berejiklian this week to clarify the comments, asking whether this meant she was ruling out any plan to put the F6 through what is now national park.

The Premier’s office dodged the question, saying instead that the NSW Government has a “proud record on national parks”.

Asked again, Ms Berejiklian’s office later said the Premier “stands by her words”.

They are not words that appear to give the Government any wriggle room. But national park advocates and green-minded cynics will be poring over these words for any way a major freeway cut through the park could possibly pass a “never ever damage” test.

Environmental offsets – acquiring other land for conservation so as to counter the destruction of native bush – would still involve substantial damage to the Royal.

The government will accept a donation of 600ha at Maddens Plains as an offset for ecological damage caused by South32’s Dendrobium mine at Mount Kembla. But this acquisition could hardly be counted against any F6 damage, as that would involve counting its offset value twice.

Offsets appeared to be the thinking of Cronulla MP Mark Speakman, who recently spoke about “tweaking” the Royal’s boundary, and set environmentalists up as hard-core “ideologues”.

“To suggest that you could never tweak part of the Royal National Park’s western boundary along the train line by using the old F6 corridor, if you could more than compensate for that by adding land elsewhere, isn’t common sense environmentalism,” he said.

“It’s ideological extremism by the NPA spokespeople, and it’s rank hypocrisy by Labor, which will never hide the fact it was the party that cancelled the F6 and still opposes any F6.”

If politicking becomes to be the order of the day, a large stretch of the Royal National Park would be the pawn in the game.

But politicking may have saved the Royal from the previous attempt to drive the F6 through it. After a public campaign in 1977 then premier Neville Wran scrapped the proposal. Or perhaps it was reason. The Commonwealth Bureau of Roads had concluded the social and economic benefits of the road could be less than the cost to the community of providing these facilities.

What was lost might not be worth it.

Ask Bob Crombie where value lies and he will use words like re-creation, silence, and most of all, bewilderment. One of the first ranger-naturalists to work in the Royal National Park, Mr Crombie spent more than a decade there. Now retired and living in Sutherland, he visits almost every day.

He said the 1977 road plan’s defeat should have been the end of it.

“We particularly didn’t want it around East Heathcote. That would have been a *&%$#! disaster. It would have cut out the headwaters of the creek that drained into Karloo pool,” he said.

He said the pollution from a major road, running off into the Kangaroo Creek system, would destroy much of the ecosystem of that area. The light from the road alone would “totally change” the habitat.

“There’s enough light from Sydney already that you can walk without a torch at night – even on moonless nights,” he said.

The National Parks Association is perhaps the most active in support of the Royal’s boundaries, and will stage a rally in Bundeena on Sunday in support of the cause.

“We’ve never regarded the Royal as being close to Sydney – it is in Sydney, and Wollongong – it always was,” Mr Crombie said.

“It’s Sydney’s lungs. It’s part of Sydney.”

The debate of nature v efficient human transport was a furphy. Mr Crombie said if this were Germany or Sweden, they would just build a tunnel underneath the park: problem solved. If it was central Sydney, there would be a tunnel dug underneath. But the 1130 species that live in the Royal, their habitat, and the value the place has for the residents of Sydney and Wollongong should not be so easily dispensible.

“It’s a profoundly interesting place. It’s one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.

“I consider the biggest, most important value of all of the Royal National Park is its capacity to bewilder. For people, when they go in there, induced by the environment, can suddenly feel at peace.

“That’s life-changing, that’s re-creating.”
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby cajun » Mon 03 Jul, 2017 4:53 pm

Save our Royal National Park

Still need at least 200 more signatures.
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.
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Re: F6 Freeway extension proposal through Royal National Par

Postby Singe » Mon 03 Jul, 2017 6:19 pm

cajun wrote:Save our Royal National Park

Still need at least 200 more signatures.

Signed and shared.

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