The proposed Piano Cove Golf Course and Hotel, near St Helens, is one step closer after the developer's report claimed it would not cause any significant impact on threatened fauna habitats.
The development along the Tasman Highway, between Little Basin and Jock's Lagoon, proposes an 18-course golf course, clubhouse, hotel and maintenance facilities alongside a commercial complex.
Under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act it was deemed a matter of national environmental significance due to nationally threatened species and ecological communities on site and had to apply for approval with the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment.
The site is about 540 hectares, but in order to clear the land for the development, the total vegetation proposed to be cleared to make way for it is 20.62 hectares.
It had the potential to affect the threatened fauna habitats of:
- Chaostola skippers
- Green and gold frogs
- New Holland mice
- Shore birds
- Swift parrots
- White-bellied sea-eagles
The developer's report to the department stated a detailed flora and fauna habitat assessment was completed over a number of years and it found, with revised plans, it avoided direct impacts on all matters of national environmentally significant habitats known to be utilised or have a high likelihood of being utilised, and its impact was not deemed significant.
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With breeding and specialist foraging habitats of all species avoided to the extent that none are within the footprint of the proposal.
Additionally, the report stated threatened flora would not be disturbed, and it would be protected during construction and through a management plan to enhance the habitat including protection from weed and phytophthora infestation.
The site also features 15 Aboriginal heritage sites and it was recommended in the report they be protected by making sure artefacts were conserved in-situ and everyone involved in construction knew of the significance.
The report is available for public comment until November 4.
However, the approval process under the act by the department is in addition to any state or local government approval that might be required.
Therefore the site will still need to be rezoned as it's zoned as environmental living, which only allows for a minimum of 20 hectare residential developments with a single dwelling.
The report claimed an application was before the Tasmanian Planing Commission to rezone it as a specific area plan.
The next step is a public presentation of the proposal and a site inspection planned in January.
Note: A previous version of this story stated the report was from the department not the developer.
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