Parsley Bay – an eastern suburbs gem under threat

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]

Nicole McMahon, NPA member

In this article I would like to acknowledge The Traditional owners being the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people.

For the past 5 years, I have enjoyed learning and making lifelong friendships with fantastic people as a Bushcare volunteer for Woollahra Council at Parsley Bay and a Sydney-based NPA member.

Parsley Bay is one of my favourite places, and a treasured spot in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. A place of many celebrations, gatherings, picnics, and beach activity, where children play and laugh and have many great adventures. It is a much-loved area by the whole community.

Each week our group spend time removing weeds, planting natives, spending time with the ever so curious wildlife and learning about our local green spaces. Many members of the group finish off with a fabulous swim/snorkel to check out our marine friends and see what new species have hitched a ride on the Eastern Australian Current. This marine protected zone is a great nursery for marine plants and animals and has a long list of recorded species that visit our shores. You can check these out on historical records from the reserve and catchment, through the Atlas of Living of Australia (Home . The same is available for citizen observations on iNaturalist (iNaturalist )

Parsley Bay provides habitat for oysters, limpets, lichen, periwinkles, snails, crabs, barnacles, and chitons.  The small rock pools carved out in the rock platforms are enjoyed by sea anemones and sea stars. The intertidal zones have an array of smaller fish, seahorses, sea urchins, luderick, stripey, blue swimmer crabs, stingarees, flute mouth, octopus, a moray eel from time to time, and many different leather jackets.

Small seagrass meadows of Posidonia australis and brown kelp are present in the bay. Sea slugs, nudibranch, bream, snapper, numbfish, flounder, mados, and many more newcomers are always welcome to stay. Even Seahorse hotel installations are in progress for Parsley Bay. An amazing initiative, protecting these endangered species. 

Wonderful wildlife, from Powerful Owls, Ring- tailed possums, microbats, Ibis, Magpies, Currawongs, Kingfishers, Galaxias and Eels in the Creek, the occasional Marsh frog, Lorikeets, native Noisy Minors, and cheeky Water dragons, who are very content sharing their home with us. And many more.

Under Threat

Recently, there was a decision made, with little community consultation, to install a sewage pumping station at Parsley Bay. This 800-million dollar project has been assigned to this beautiful reserve. Holes will be bored under the creek, destroying all the fauna and flora in its path.

The assigned contractors suggest there are no endangered species in Parsley Bay and demonstrate no real concerns about the flora and fauna that live in this reserve. Based on the Review of Environmental factors, REF and Appendices (tabled June 2020), it would appear the terrestrial surveys were conducted at one of the worst possible times: “Fauna and habitat resources: A low diversity of fauna were recorded during the field survey, due in part to short duration of the survey and high temperatures and smoke haze present on the day. In total, 10 native bird species and three introduced bird species were recorded”. This information was therefore collected on a single survey day (10 December 2019) in the middle of the 2019-2020 bushfire season, a time when catastrophic fire danger was declared in the Greater Sydney region. The community has requested a response for a re-assessment of terrestrial biodiversity based on these outlier survey conditions and to date this request has been dismissed.

Online historical records were poorly consulted, or not consulted at all. Consulting both sources mentioned above would have significantly expanded the flora and fauna list used as the basis for the REF. Parsley Bay is home to a diversity of wildlife, including seahorses. The contractor’s reports failed to mention this. The level of care being demonstrated in conservation for this special place in Sydney and their wildlife homes is disappointing to witness.

The Bushcare group, residents and public are being dismissed with their ongoing concerns. With what seems to be clever wording in documentation, the project is not required to prepare a Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) or apply for a Fisheries Permit. Our community has requested these documents be prepared, to outline how the project will mitigate its potential impacts through construction on the environment and local community. To date this has gone unanswered.

If it is deemed that there are impacts to the freshwater catchments, a Fisheries Permit will need to be requested and secured. The same goes for impacted marine environments. Our group cannot understand why this request has been ignored. It is also very clear that local knowledge (Bushcare Group) was not included in a Review of Environmental Factors (REF).

To date, this project has failed to address concerns for the flora and fauna and has excluded the Department of Fisheries.

This is such a beautiful, very well-preserved, much-loved reserve that has been set aside for public enjoyment. This will be taken away from our community for at least two years from the commencement of the build, with non-stop construction works being undertaken. The real concern is the loss of local fauna and flora present, vanishing entirely.

The strong attitudes in place from the Key Stakeholders around the Creek and Sydney Harbour having no impacts on the flora and fauna remains a mystery.

Construction from chemicals and sedimentations from their project is a major concern. Ongoing Natural disasters, the sedimentation run off from this location decision will decimating the entire marine life in the creek and the direct path flowing into Parsley Bay, Sydney Harbour.

Consideration to the voices of the wildlife, our natural treasures are being unheard. This is a real concern and would love the support and the help from our community to protect Parsley Bay from these lasting impacts and to help protect the intergenerational equity.

It would be great to further access the already researched alternative sites in this project. Installing this Sewage Pumping Station is needed. The choice of Parsley Bay being the location seem as though was made as the wildlife cannot stand up for themselves, without us.

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.