Comparing 2008 and 2010 Crown Lands Reports

FINAL 2010 LANDS DEPARTMENT REPORT ON LA PEROUSE MARKET GARDENS COMPARED TO 2008 DRAFT REPORT (available on request through CONTACT page).

In May 2008 the Department of Lands produced the Draft Assessment of Crown Land – Chinese Market Gardens, Phillip Bay, it stated:

“Given the current environmental constraints and current state of the subject land, the site is considered not suitable for the establishment of a cemetery. As per the Australasian Cemeteries and Crematoria Association (2004) Guidelines for the establishment of a Cemetery if the water table is too high burials may not be possible.”

Given the State Government’s projection of estimated sea level rises of 40cm by 2025, the argument against the establishment of a cemetery based on water table levels seems further supported.

The above document continues,

“The other significant factor to be considered in any preliminary investigation to the establishment of a cemetery is the heritage significance of the Chinese Market Gardens which are listed on the State Heritage Register.”

The 2008 Draft Report prepared by Dan Cross supported agricultural uses of the 7ha Market Gardens and did not support Cemetery Uses.  In 2011(shortly before the State Election) the then Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, supported a Part 3A proposal from the Cemetery Trust to takeover 60% of the Market Gardens.  Reference was made to the FINAL report from Crown Lands.  This report was not available on the website as the 2008 has been but a copy was made available on request 17/1/2012.  The document was in PDF format and recorded as Draft in the Footer. There were other references which indicated that it was still a draft.  Significantly, there was no author.  Mr Cross’s name was not on this revision.

The following is a comparison between the two documents:

page 4-5
This Land Assessment has been undertaken in response to land allocation pressures pertaining to this land, primarily representations by Botany Cemetery and Eastern Suburbs Crematorium Trusts to have the subject lands incorporated into Botany Cemetery. This stems from the impending shortage of burial sites, and the subject land is viewed as the only remaining Crown land in close proximity.

Possible uses that have been identified in this Land Assessment comprise those that are appropriate for the land in its current state, in the first instance, and those that may occur following modification of the land. In its current state the Land can provide for the following uses: Environmental Protection; Nature Conservation; Agriculture (cropping); and Water Conservation. It must be noted that only Environmental Protection and Agriculture were ranked as having “very High” suitability. Although the site is highly modified in terms of natural ecology, the site has very high potential for onsite an offsite impacts due to potential Acid Sulphate Soils, Erosion, and runoff issues. Agriculture (cropping) had a Very Low to Very High capability. This can be explained as the criteria for capability determines that if soils have a high erodibility risk when subjected to flowing water the capability is very low. However given the low relief, and the absence of significant erosion influences as seen in more dynamic river catchments, and the current farm management practices, erosion is minimal and the site currently has a very high capability for agriculture, and is functioning very successfully in this purpose.

This has been added on page 5:

It is necessary for the Authority to give consideration of the possible Development of the site, being the principle land allocation issue, at this time. It is beyond the scope of the Land Assessment to consider possible land use following modification of the land. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to engage an independent consultant to investigate the possibility of Development where modifications may be necessary.

Justification for including community and public purpose in land Assessment
Considering the market gardens are reserved for Future Public Requirements, their proximity to Botany Cemetery, along with the emerging public need for additional burial space throughout the Sydney GMA, it is appropriate to identify as a further suitable use for the site as community and public purpose, namely as a natural extension of the adjoining cemetery. This suitability would be dependent on addressing a number of constraints identified in this report and elsewhere.

In conclusion, the suitable uses that have been identified in this land assessment are as follows:
Environmental Protection
Nature Conservation
Agriculture
Community and Public Purpose

NOTE: COMMUNITY AND PUBLIC PURPOSE replaces WATER CONSERVATION

There is a change in this paragraph – page 5
In identifying possible uses for the land under assessment, the Authority has considered the land inventory, in conjunction with the land‟s capabilities, the principles of Crown land management, the independent Preliminary Assessment Report done by Soil Conservation Service (SCS), and the views of public authorities with an interest in the land.

This is page 6 remains the same even though this is supposed to be a final report:

Public participation is fundamental in facilitating land use decisions that are acceptable to the people of NSW. Public response to exhibition of this land assessment affords the Land & Property Management Authority opportunity to gain a better understanding of other issues that may influence land use allocation in the locality and to ascertain the level of support for each identified suitable use. Representations from the public on this assessment will be accepted by the Authority during the public display period.
After the public review period, submissions received from the public or other government agencies, within the display period, will be reviewed and the assessment will be amended where necessary to create a final land assessment document, resulting in the identification of recommended uses for the study area in the best interests of the people of New South Wales.

page 32 the Table on Capability: Changed COMMUNITY or PUBLIC PURPOSES from Low to Very Low to read as Moderate

page 34 – they took this out: RCC provided a response pertaining Council’s biodiversity management and weed control programs, and Aboriginal and European cultural features that are relevant to the subject land.

page 36 – changed the ranking for COMMUNITY OR PUBLIC PURPOSES from Low to Very Low to Moderate

page 37 – they have removed in section f. The land is currently servicing the wider community by providing produce for a significant number of grocery outlets.

page 37 – this has been added The SCS report does however conclude that given sufficient modification of the soil and hydrology via filling, and relocation of Yarra Creek, the site could accommodate various types of development including establishment of a Cemetery.

page 38 – this replaces
As previously mentioned, this Land Assessment has been undertaken in response to representations by Botany Cemetery and Eastern Suburbs Crematorium Trusts to have the subject lands incorporated into Botany Cemetery. This stems from the impending shortage of burial sites, and the subject land is viewed as the only remaining Crown land in close proximity. A cemetery proposal would be subject to an approval process whereby socio-economic factors, environmental constraints, all relevant legislation would be considered. The site in its current state would require significant engineering works to overcome the current constraints such as a high water table and flooding issues. The other significant factor to be considered in any preliminary investigation to the establishment of a cemetery is the heritage significance of the Chinese Market Gardens which are listed on the State Heritage Register.

what was on page 37 of the Draft:

As previously mentioned, this Land Assessment has been undertaken in response to representations by Botany Cemetery and Eastern Suburbs Crematorium Trusts to have the subject lands incorporated into Botany Cemetery. This stems from the impending shortage of burial sites and the subject land is viewed as the only remaining Crown land in close proximity. A cemetery proposal would be subject to an approval process whereby socio-economic factors, environmental constraints, all relevant legislation would be considered. The site in its current state would most likely require significant engineering works to overcome the current constraints such as a high water table and flooding issues. Given the current environmental constraints and current state of the subject land, the site is not suitable for the establishment of a cemetery. As per the Australasian Cemeteries and Crematoria Association(2004) Guidelines for the establishment of a Cemetery if the water table is too high burials may not be possible. The other significant factor to be considered in an preliminary investigation to the establishment of a cemetery is the heritage significane of the Chinese Market Gardens which are listed on the State Heritage Register.

The conclusion on page 38 has also been changed to this

In conclusion three land uses have been assessed as possible uses for the study area, given its current state. These being:

Environmental Protection
Nature Conservation
Agriculture
Community and Public Purpose

However, if the site was to undergo major earth works and changes to the hydrology, and all environmental constraints were sufficiently addressed the site could be modified to a point whereby various development activities could be accommodated, including establishment of a Cemetery.

In the Draft it reads(page 37):

In conclusion the three land uses set out in Table 12 have been assessed as suitable uses for the study area. A preferred land use has not been identified. Public authority and community response during the public display of this land assessment will provide opinion as to whether there is one or more preferred land uses for the study area or conversely whether one or more of the identified suitable uses are not supported.
Table No 12: Suitable uses determined for study area:

Environmental Protection
Agriculture
Nature Conversation

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