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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Madeline Link

Council signs off on agreement to protect 'wild corner' of the city

The land to be protected is off Lenaghan's Drive at Black Hill. Picture from Google Maps

A 'WILD corner' of land in a green corridor that stretches from the Watagans to Port Stephens will be protected in perpetuity thanks to a Conservation Agreement City of Newcastle has signed.

The land off Lenaghan's Drive at Black Hill offers a rare connection for wildlife between the wetlands and woodland fringes around the Hunter River floodplain.

It's a link in a continuous 200ha chain of undeveloped land from the Stockton Bight to the west and the Watagan Mountains to the south.

While it might be little known to the general public, the council has been fighting hard to protect the green corridor, Labor Cr Deahnna Richardson said at last week's meeting.

"I think it will give some comfort to the community around Minmi who have been particularly affected by the Winten development and destruction of land that has taken place out there that we as a council are doing absolutely everything that we can to protect the natural environment in and around those communities," she said.

"We have seen that urban sprawl, as has been discussed a number of times in this chamber, as the result of those legacy decisions around potentially what we would say now is poor planning, and the impact that has had on local infrastructure.

"We're now living through that and making sure we can protect what land is left out there, that's really important."

The land holds cultural significance as well, sitting adjacent to Rocky Knob which is a sacred site for the Pambalong Clan.

The proposed alignment for the future construction of a Lower Hunter Freight Corridor crosses the northern boundary of the land parcel, taking up about 1.4ha.

In 2021, the council made a submission on the project asking for the proposed freight corridor to be relocated to the excavated corridor of the M1 project nearby.

Greens Cr Charlotte McCabe said it's an incredibly special and protected wild corner of the local government area given there haven't been pressing development pressures on the space.

"It's a shame that as we are creating this conservation agreement, it comes at the same time the M1 corridor cuts through directly above this area, as will most likely the Lower Hunter Freight Rail Corridor," she said.

Once the Conservation Agreement is signed, the council will be eligible for NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust grants of up to $15,000 per year for up to three years to undertake fencing, regeneration and weed control, introduced animal pest control, revegetation and habitat restoration.

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