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Name Change for Lizard Rock

Wakehurst MP Michael Regan says a name change for the development proposal at Lizard Rock ‘lacks transparency’.

On Tuesday (05 September), the NSW Department of Planning and Environment notified stakeholders that the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) had changed the name of the ‘Lizard Rock planning proposal’ to be known as the ‘Patyegarang planning proposal’.

The NSW Department of Planning said the name change was to ‘better reflect cultural significance of the site to the local Aboriginal community.’

According to an MLALC website which explains the planning proposal, the name ‘Lizard Rock’ has no cultural significance and ‘Patyegarang’ is more culturally appropriate.

“Formally [sic] identified as Lizard Rock, the site at Morgan Road, Belrose will now be known as Patyegarang. Patyegarang is a more culturally appropriate name that better represents the rich history of the site.

“MLALC acknowledges that Patyegarang was a Gadigal language informant whose name translates to Grey Kangaroo, which is one of [the] most prominent engravings on the site. Patyegarang was the first language provider/translator of Australia in her conversations and interactions with Lieutenant Daws on Gadigal language that is now Sydney language.

“The site has more recently been known locally as Lizard Rock due to graffiti on the large rock to make it look like a lizard. The name Lizard Rock and the graffiti at the site do not represent or respect the cultural heritage of the site and the rock itself has no cultural importance or relevance to Aboriginal people.

“Under Aboriginal cultural heritage the term Lizard is not used, and actual names are used for each reptile,” wrote the MLALC.

Lizard Rock

The MLALC has been granted large swathes of what was formerly Crown land on the Northern Beaches under native title and is now one of the largest owners of freehold title (621ha) in the area. Most of the land owned by the MLALC is bushland, and they are now seeking to have parcels rezoned to permit development.

Rezoning of bushland for residential development is made possible under specific NSW planning laws known as the Aboriginal Land State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP). A planning proposal for 450 homes put forward by the MLALC received approval to proceed to ‘Gateway determination’ stage by the Sydney North Strategic Planning Panel.

MLALC lands - Lizard Rock

That planning decision was met with shock by many in the community, including local Liberal MPs who promised to prevent the development if re-elected to government. Labor won the election however, and NSW Planning Minister Paul Scully gave a petition to stop the development a lukewarm response, saying there was no money to buy the land back from the MLALC.

Northern Beaches Council has said the development is occurring outside of its housing strategy, and has refused to participate in the planning process, saying the role they would be forced to play would facilitate the development over Council’s objections to it.

The NSW Department of Planning has indicated that plans resubmitted by the MLALC now ‘satisfies all Gateway conditions’, allowing the proposal to proceed to public exhibition.

Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan

Former Northern Beaches Mayor and now Member for Wakehurst Michael Regan (image above, centre) has been a vocal opponent of the MLALC plan. Mr Regan this week issued a statement condemning the proposal and name change, saying it ‘lacked transparency’.

“The proposal for 450 homes at Lizard Rock that would result in the destruction of bushland in Belrose equivalent to the size 46 football fields has progressed to the next stage of the planning process. The proposal will now be open for public consultation later this month.

“The decision to progress to the next stage by the NSW Department of Planning comes despite vehement opposition from the community and the Northern Beaches Council and after the MLALC submitted amended plans which the public were not made aware of.

“The lack of transparency that has characterised this process is of huge concern to me and my community. I also note the planning proposal has a new name — the Patyegarang Planning Proposal. The name demonstrates the significant cultural and environmental significance of the site.

“Whether the planning proposal is called Lizard Rock or Patyegarang, it doesn’t change the substance of the issue — that this is an unsustainable and dangerous proposal, and it should simply not go ahead.

“Myself, other neighbouring state MPs, local Federal MPs, the Northern Beaches Council and local residents all oppose development at this site. To date the private panel appointed by the previous Coalition government which allowed this proposal to progress has ignored the community and ignored independent experts who all say this is a terrible proposal and that it should never have progressed this far.

“The Minns Government needs to kill this proposal off and find alternative sites for the developer. The previous Government along with the Northern Beaches Council knocked back development proposals at nearby Ingleside for similar reasons.

“The site is a fire zone and building here will put thousands of people at risk. As the Minns Government has also flagged, greenfield development where native trees and vegetation is destroyed for housing is not sustainable — especially when other options exist.

“The Northern Beaches Council already has a sustainable housing policy which prioritises medium density development close to nearby transport infrastructure and essential services.

“With this proposal soon out for public consultation I once again ask the community and people throughout NSW to join me in opposing this proposal. It is unsustainable, inconsistent with the state’s housing targets, costly as new essential services and infrastructure will need to be built from scratch, and dangerous — potentially putting thousands of people in a high risk fire zone.

“Even the picture chosen by the Planning Department for use on the online portal clearly demonstrates the environmental destruction that could be about to occur at this site. Have we not learned anything from previous bushfires and other poor planning proposals? Clearly not,” said Mr Regan.

The NSW Department of Planning has indicated the Patyegarang planning proposal will be put on public exhibition for a six-week period ‘beginning late-September’.

Source:  Northern Beaches Advocate

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