Conservationist angry after contractors remove vegetation

REMOVED: Richard Jermyn on his property after power contractors cleared the vegetation without his permission.
REMOVED: Richard Jermyn on his property after power contractors cleared the vegetation without his permission.

Property owner Richard Jermyn is calling for better communications between Essential Energy and its contractors after he found contractors clearing his property and removing vegetation.

“It was about 4pm and it was lucky I was around to hear it otherwise they could have devastated the area and I wouldn’t have known,” Mr Jermyn said.

He owns 47 acres around Harts Creek south of Pambula and much of the land forms the catchment for the creek which ultimately feeds into Pambula Lake. A keen conservationist, Mr Jermyn has lived in the area since 2000 and says he looks after his property to ensure the integrity of the catchment area is maintained.

The contractors were in the area to clear vegetation under the 66kv line which runs from Cooma to Eden with a 11kv line below it. The line passes through much of the Pambula Lake Estate subdivision.

“Not only did the contractors not inform me they were coming, but they weren’t even supposed to be on my land,” Mr Jermyn said.

Richard Jermyn points to replacement fencing after contractors drove through his existing fence.

Richard Jermyn points to replacement fencing after contractors drove through his existing fence.

His land cuts through the path of the high voltage line but is subject to a Property Vegetation Plan under the NSW Native Vegetation Act in recognition of its high conservation values, especially for certain endangered species, and because of its strategic connection to Pambula Lake.

“This agreement requires protection of all vegetation, removal of weeds and feral animals, and elimination of impact from external sources, such as sedimentation and pollution via runoff,” Mr Jermyn explained.

He had agreed to “remove regrowth wattles” to ensure clearance under the lines.

Now after several meetings on site, Mr Jermyn said Essential Energy was providing heavy duty coir rope to help stabilise the steeply sloping land that had been subject to machine vegetation removal. He said he prefers to do the work himself and would re-vegetate by purchasing about 100 lomandra tussock plants that would help to hold the soil together.

“Much higher standards of practice on the ground need to be instituted, with focus on minimal disturbance and destruction,” Mr Jermyn said.