The Powerful Owl Coalition, of which STEP is a member, presented a submission to a Sydney North Planning Panel on 10 June on the proposed development of two high rise apartment buildings on Peats Ferry Road (the old Pacific Highway). The site overlooks Hornsby Park and is close to the Quarry site and Berowra Valley National Park.
As the buildings will be at the top of the ridge their effective height relative to the valley will be similar to the high rises of Chatswood or Parramatta.
The submission highlighted the risks to birdlife from the development, in particular:
- the risk of birds flying into reflective glass
- disturbance to nocturnal birds – a Powerful Owl breeding site is only 900 m away
- light pollution into Hornsby Park and Berowra Valley National Park – biological systems are arguably organised foremost by the daily and seasonal rhythm cycle of light and dark
- interruption to the movement of birds between catchments both north/south and east/west
Sadly, all these issues were ignored by the panel. This is likely to be the first of many more similar developments along the old Pacific Highway that will exacerbate the issues explained above.