Hill Top Residents' Action Group Inc

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Historical Submission Samples

(Please post to Council by 28th February, 2008)
Or to the Hill Top Shop box by 26th February 2008.
The General Manager
Wingecarribee Shire Council
PO Box 141
Moss Vale  NSW  2577
Dear Sir
I/we the undersigned object to the abovementioned application and request that Wingecarribee Shire Council decline the application on the following grounds the application should be considered as S96 (2) and further:

1. Council should prohibit the use according to the current LEP on the site which prohibits recreational facilities. Approving the development application will affect the proposed future zoning of the said land, ie National Park which precludes the use of this site for a shooting complex.

2. Residential development has been allowed to proceed in close proximity to the site since the original development application, 20 years ago and therefore has resulted in residents being impacted by excessive noise disturbance and distress on a regular basis.  Council has received many complaints to this effect and Police have had to be called to the site (as recently as October 2007) due to loud explosions at 6.30 in the morning.

3. The applicant has not adhered to the original approved use requiring complaints as outlined above.  Operations outside the permitted use and breaches of consent conditions have been admitted by the tenant with use by unauthorised clubs, more cars and more shooters and competitions on the site.  Further, the approved use of the site is for weekends only however the site has been used regularly on weekdays by the Club and the Army without consent, early mornings and evenings.  Additionally, the tenants have permitted use by the Army without consideration of weapons used, time of use and impact on residents.  This illegal use should be considered and the site closed.

4.  Further, the application to modify does not provide sufficient detail on events and times and types of weapons to be used, shooting disciplines to take place, nor does it provide sufficient detail on the numbers of shooters/cars and disciplines shot for District, Team, Regional and State events nor does it specify the names of clubs that will be invited to use the site for these events other than clubs that are new i.e. six of the 7 nominated clubs.

5. Council is in receipt of a copy of a petition calling for a Commission of Inquiry into the proposed future development of this site and the adjacent property.  More than 700 people have signed this petition in opposition to the use of the site continuing as a rifle range on the existing and proposed increased scale.

6. Shooting ranges result in significant contamination of sites as admitted by the Shooters Party in relation to the old Wakehurst site, the proposed closure of the Malabar site and there is minuted evidence that Eurobodalla Shire Council has to cover $250,000+ in costs in cleaning up a local Rifle Range when the club administering the site de-registered and walked off the site.  What costs will be incurred by Council to remediate this site when the lease expires in October 2008?

7. Lead contamination of water catchment areas is a serious concern and Council approval of this request would continue unregulated lead and toxic debris pollution of the site which runs off into surrounding Sydney water catchment waterways.

8. Soil and road works have been undertaken on the site without consent to remedy subsidence damage to the internal access road of the site - this is under investigation by Council now and a further breach of consent and proof of the ignorance of Council bylaws.

9. The site has recorded natural habitat for 108 protected species and 22 threatened species including breeding Koalas (recent study undertaken by Koala experts).  SEPP 44 should be implemented for this site and further environmental studies undertaken prior to consideration of this modification application.

10. Given the significant infringement on the private amenity of Colo Vale, Hill Top and Balmoral residents as well as recreational users of the E1 lands adjoining i.e. World Heritage and National Park (bushwalkers, birdwatches, horse riders - all quiet recreational self assisted pursuits - and lack of appropriate infrastructure to support this facility.  Dangerous fuel storage in bushfire zone; no electricity; parking, erosion and traffic impact on surrounding World Heritage and Conservation area roads and due to increased dust generation; no sewerage or reticulated water systems; unsuitable dangerous tarred and unsealed road access):  Council should act immediately to cease the operations and not approve the modification application.

As this development application increases the use and the users to more than double the shooters and increases the membership of the applicant clubs to over 2000 members from 100 members, we urgently require Wingecarribee Shire Council to consider this application as a Section 96(2) application and that it be subject to all considerations under EPA 79 1 development application requirements.  Therefore, but not limited to, we require:

1. The applicant provide detail of all armoury types used and calibres of ammunition including proposed shooting events including dates, numbers of shooters, cars and clubs involved for all team, district, state and regional events.

2. Soil and water testing of the site to determine existing contamination of the site complying with Drinking Water Catchments Regional Environmental Plan No. 1 and contamination legislation SEPP 55.

3. Assessment of costs to Council of present and future

a. Testing and remediation costs for existing and future toxic contamination.

b. Improvement for road access to site, repairs of footpaths and bridges in Hill Top precinct to provide for safe egress from Wilson Drive to the site given that current application doubles the use of (at least).

c. Rubbish removal, environmental impact studies, damage and habitat re-distribution from use of the conservation area.

4. Comprehensive noise testing by independent Council noise testing consultants, with the largest bore guns used on the site being simultaneously discharged by the maximum number of shooters permitted on the site shooting at any one time, with consideration of 45dBl level as outlined in "best practice" EPA legislation for shooting ranges and taking into consideration the repetitious nature of the disturbing and distressing noise impacts.  The Noise study provided to Council is inadequate, inaccurate, misleading and contradictory and is for one gun only at a time when up to 20 shooters are expected (constant, repetitious disturbance should be measured).

5. US EPA Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges guidelines has been recognised by the NSW State Department of Planning as the appropriate guidelines to be applied to continuation of this development.  All guidelines should be applied to any continuation of use.

6. Flora and Fauna impact study should be undertaken. 

7. Bushfire Hazard report.

8. Traffic impact study.

9. Cultural heritage/Archaelology study.

10. Security details for storage of arms, ammunition,  fuel and safety measures reports should be provided.

11. Property values assessment based on recent devaluations confirmed reported to residents by local Real Estate Agents as a result of the range impacts on the villages of Hill Top and Balmoral, may result in appeals to the Department of the Valuer General for reduction of property values for the purposes of rates assessment.  Council should review and provide a report to Council for consideration with any application.

I/we implore Council to enforce the existing and proposed LEP zoning on the site as E1 National Park and given the licence for the site expires October 2008 with no opportunity for renewal, the proven and ongoing breaches of consent; planning factors; the adverse and intolerable noise impacts; environmental ecological impacts, existing contamination status being undetermined, request that the application for expanded use be declined.  If Council is of a mind to not decline the modification we require appropriate Section 79 1 consideration be applied to the site prior to any approval of modification and that those reports be re-exhibited to the community.

Yours truly,



Other Comments:




Letter One: Dept of Sports & Recreation

<insert date>


Hon Minister for Arts, Sport and Recreation

Level 31, Governor Macquarie Tower,

1 Farrer Place, Sydney, NSW, 2000


Dear Minister


REVOCATION OF TRANSFER OF LAND TO DEPARTMENT OF SPORT AND RECREATION Rezoning Application  and   Development Application for Regional Shooting Complex

BARGO CONSERVATION AREA - Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top


I urgently require your withdrawal of an ill-conceived proposal for a  Rezoning of  Bargo State Conservation Land and inappropriate Development Application for a  Regional Shooting Complex  at Hill Top – to include (at this stage) four new ranges catering for full bore rifle, shotgun, pistol, army,  armoury, ammunitions and flammable fuel storage, carpark, clubhouse on this site.    Part  Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top NSW  is Bargo State Conservation Area –zoning specifically opposes such use.   According to US EPA Lead Contamination  at Outdoor Shooting Range regulations that you have to abide for this type of development, the nature, site topography, geology and conservation values totally prohibit the use of the site for this purpose.  I request the proposal now be withdrawn on those grounds. 


The proposed site is within 1km of Blue Mountains World Heritage lands!!.  It is part of significant protected Sydney Water Catchment Basin!!.  Development details  and documents distributed by your Department are inaccurate, misleading and vague. The supporting information for the Bill presented by Sandra Nori  through Parliament was incomplete, inaccurate and misleading as to location, scale of development and environmental issues The land is not 5.5km from Hill Top  - it is at Hill Top  and less than 1.5 km from  village residences!!..It is  3500metres from our main street!  Current relevant guidelines show heavy metal pollution of our diminishing Sydney drinking water resources will escalate at this site.  The proposed facility site is on ridgeline within 4km and at the same elevation as Hill Top Public SchoolOur children and residents  hear the gunshots now– even as far as Colo Vale!~ The  4.8km no go safety zone for stray bullets includes our village streets!.  Will they be closed and residents compensated? The land has extensive current fire management plans administered by DEC which state specifically this 1000ha should be monitored to protect the villages of Hill Top, Balmoral and ColoVale.  It notes that our community “needs to be protected from the high and constant threat of wildfire  from this prevailing direction across this land”!!  Previous recent fires through the specific site required evacuations and loss of property in Hill Top, Balmoral and Colo Vale!!  Your plans for an armoury, fuel store and ammunition store with unstable and unspent ammunition on the site are irresponsible and unacceptable and contrary to Government policy and US EPA regulations!  - the application should be withdrawn now!


Your Department has not investigated safe sites that could be developed nor facilities that already exist to provide for these shooters.  Sydney metropolitan (Cecil Park Olympic venue), Goulburn, Silverdale, Heathcote, Belanglo Quarry, to name a few.  You have not investigated new Greenfield land suitable for such a development in Illawarra where 95% of  the shooters live. The contamination by the shotgun range now closed at Nelligen and the Batemans Bay Rifle Range noise issues are a constant vexation to the Eurobodalla Shire Council who have a $250,000 clean up bill at ratepayers expense.(as noted in their Minutes). The Council has also commenced compliance actions against the BBRR for the rifle range now!  The Cecil Park facility was purpose built and has confirmed (contrary to your reports) that they have a DA approved to expand and build another 500m rifle range and their existing facilities are under-utilised!.   That facility cost over $10M.  To spend $4m of taxpayers funds to complete handshake deals with shooters who live in another electorate -  to duplicate existing facilities at an obviously unsuitable site and destroy our community at the same time - surely breach duty of care by the Government.    I urgently request you to immediately withdraw any rezoning or development application for the purposes of a Regional Shooting Facility on land in Hill Top and return the land to DEC.   I  have grave concerns that unbiased and transparent process will be carried out due to previous history of this proposal as it has moved up the coast.  I am appalled at your lack of care for our communities rights to safely enjoy our properties and environment and obvious neglect of our interests. 


Yours sincerely,


<insert name>

<insert address>

Letter Two: Dept of Planning - Exhibition Period 

The land for the development has had its Crown Land title overturned by parliment however it is still classed as "conservation" not "recreational" which is required for the development to go ahead.  The government will be releasing these 2 recommendations to the public shortly for both to be considered concurrently.  This means the public have only 4 weeks to become familiar with and take actions against the re-zoning and the development.  We do not believe this is fair or justified and ask that if the Department of Planning cannot release them subsequently (4 weeks per application), that they give the community 8 weeks for public exhibition and comment so each application may be given full consideration.  We ask that everyone in your household write a letter and send prior to Fri 20 April.  Two letter templates are listed below.  Feel free to use either, and use as much or as little as you like but ensure it says you want 8 weeks to consider both applications.

Template A:

<insert date>

Mr S Haddad

Director General

Department of Planning


SYDNEY   NSW   2000


Lot 100 DP 1088254

Rezoning Application and Development Application for Regional Shooting Facility

Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top, NSW


Dear Sir,


I am writing with regards to the Rezoning and Development Applications to come before the Minister for Planning for Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top.


Both applications have considerable social and environmental consequences for our community and as such I believe that both should be given the correct procedural timeframe to deal with the matter.  Once announced residents will have to source and read the information provided and spend time drafting a thoughtful response to both applications.  Procedural guidelines allow 4 weeks of public consideration, as such there would be 4 weeks consideration for the re-zoning and 4 weeks consideration for the development plans; 8 weeks in total.


The development itself has a number of considerations and lengthy reports for the public to digest.  Issues such as security of the armoury, safety to the local community, traffic increases and road infrastructure, noise disturbances, and so on.  This is a vast amount of information for the public to digest and they will require the full 4 weeks to do so.


The re-zoning application has very different considerations and corresponding lengthy reports for the public to digest such as environmental impact on local wildlife and the terrain, implications for our water catchment area, possible lead contamination, increased fire hazards and so on.  The public require time to consider why the land is currently zoned ‘conservation’ and what impacts there will be if it is to be re-zoned ‘recreational’.  This too is a vast amount of information for the public to digest and they will require the full 4 weeks to do so.  It is even more important to be given the full 4 weeks to understand this issue as no public consultation was conducted when the Bill was passed through parliament to have the Crown Title overturned from this parcel of land.


It is unfair and unjust to have the applications considered concurrently and limit the available time for the community and interested parties to review all the information and reports available, digest and comprehend the information and draft a suitable and thoughtful response to both applications.  If the two matters cannot be considered separately then I hereby make the submission to your office that the applications be given 4 weeks consideration each, that is a total public exhibition period of 8 weeks.  It is only just and ethical that your office accept this suggestion to ensure proper care and due process is seen to be adhered to.


I trust that your office will give this submission the due care and deliberation it deserves and I look forward to a positive response.


Yours sincerely,


<insert name>


<insert address>

Template B:

<insert date>


Mr. S. Haddad

Director General

Department of Planning


SYDNEY   NSW   2000


Rezoning Application  and  subsequent Development Application for Regional Shooting Complex–Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top

Exhibition period

Dear Sir,


I am writing in regard to a Rezoning Application for land and concurrent Development Application for a Regional Shooting Complex with armoury and ammunitions storage and four shooting ranges, carpark for 75 cars and use by military and 7 shooting clubs. The Minister may soon be asked to consider these applications.


Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top NSW is Bargo State Conservation Area - adjoining World Heritage and in significant Sydney Water Catchment high rainfall area.  The site is a high wildfire zone ridge in the prevailing direction that threatens Balmoral, Hill Top and Colo Vale and is only 1.5 km away from homes. Shooting and explosion noise is heard in the village now from an old rifle range on a small section of the proposed site (lease expires 2008).


The land proposed provides habitat for 108 protected, endangered and vulnerable species and as water catchment has been deemed Conservation Land. Bushfire is a recognised threat to the area and previous recent fires in this Conservation area required evacuations and loss of property in all three Villages. The proposal includes a dangerous fire, lead pollution, environmental and noise hazard for the community with proposed armoury and ammunitions store on high wildfire zone land. Fuel generators are proposed for electricity and only water tanks for firefighting with only one dirt road in.


Shooters are saying the proposals are already approved!!.  According to GHD the shooters were “promised” this site after deals were done to remove them off other Conservation land with exactly the same environmental and community issues as this proposed site.   No approval process has been undertaken yet!!!  I have doubts there will be an unbiased and transparent process now with so many promises made without due process or natural justice for the community. This does not give me trust that the matters will be reviewed without bias.


The transfer of this land from DEC should be revoked and the proposal thrown out as was the case in Illawarra for the same reasons.  (refer GHD report of August 2006 where they document the history and extensive environmental issues that support the revocation of the transfer of the land from DEC to DSR).


If put on exhibition, an extended period of public exhibition for each proposal with the rezoning application exhibited prior to any subsequent development application is required. This provides for responsible decision making.  As an affected local resident concurrent exhibition of only 4 weeks to respond to both proposals would be considered a continuation of the lack of appropriate consultation and due process for such immensely important and complicated proposals.  At least 8 weeks is required for the rezoning proposal and if still applicable the same for any related development application.


Your decision to ensure exhibition of these two applications will be extended and the applications considered without bias is urgently required. 


Yours faithfully


<insert name>


<insert address>

Letter Three: Dept of Environment & Conservation

<insert date>

Hon Phillip Koperburg MP

Minister for Environment and Conservation

PO Box A290

Sydney South  NSW 1232


Rezoning Application and Development Application for Regional Shooting Complex

BARGO CONSERVATION AREA - Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top


Dear Minister,


I am writing to seek your intervention and investigation of a proposed Rezoning Application for Conservation Land and concurrent Development Application for an extensive Regional Shooting Complex with four ranges catering for full bore rifle and shotgun, army, armoury, ammunitions and flammable fuel storage.


Lot 100 DP 1088254 Wattle Ridge Road, Hill Top NSW is Bargo State Conservation Area and not zoned for such a proposal.  It immediately adjoins the Blue Mountains World Heritage zone and is in Sydney Water Catchment Basin.  Until recently was administered by your Department through National Parks and extensive fire management reports carried out by your Department show management of this area to protect the villages is required.  The previous Minister of DEC transferred the land to the Department of Sport and Recreation due to handshake promises to shooters.  The land is identical to land they have been moved off through community and environmental concerns in Illawarra and other regions outside the Southern Highlands.  Other facilities exist that can provide for these shooters within Sydney metropolitan, Goulburn, and Silverdale areas.  The Cecil Park International Shooting facility developed for the Olympics has the capacity and is under-utilised.  Hence it is unnecessary to spend $4m taxpayers funds for this proposal.


Consultants note handshake deals started several years ago prior to the development of the International Shooting complex at Cecil Park.  Urban population is now over 6000 residents in Balmoral, Hill Top and Colo Vale (less than 5% of the shooters expected to use the facility live in the Highlands).  Extensive documentation by your department shows our villages are at risk from wildfire from this land.  Further, there have been reports from residents from the 3 villages of loud shooting and explosions from a single old rundown rifle range that currently exists on a small section of Bargo State Conservation Area adjoining the proposed land.  Their existing lease expires next year.


The land adjoins Blue Mountains World Heritage and is considered significant Sydney Water Catchment.  The specific 1000 ha site proposed provides habitat for 108 endangered and vulnerable species, including Koalas.  It is on a ridge with rugged gorges and inaccessible areas with one access point.  Your Department considers the site high wildfire zone noting that our community needs to be protected from the high and constant threat from this prevailing direction.  Previous recent fires through this Conservation area required evacuations and loss of property in Hill Top, Balmoral and Colo Vale.  Flammables storage for generators to provide electricity will be placed in this area.  The water supply on site is tank water and a small dam (this is Hawkesbury sandstone with ridge runoff into Sydney Water Catchment).  Studies show heavy metal pollution of our diminishing water resources will occur.  Such a hazardous development cannot be considered for this site.


I am confident now you are Minister, due to your previous and extensive experience with management of Fire Zones, that my request for you to take whatever steps are required to stop this site being rezoned for this purpose will not fall on deaf ears.  Though the approval process has not been started, shooters have been told the proposal is already approved.  Your Department’s documentation of the site support our request for revocation of the transfer (refer GHD reports also).  I urgently request you to act responsibly as Minister and intervene to ensure our community is protected from this bushfire and environmental hazard.


Yours sincerely


<insert name>

<insert address>

Letter Four: Sydney Water Catchment Authority

To be advised.

Template A:

To be advised.