Despite years of community campaigns to conserve the bushland catchment of Manly Dam and public awareness of this environmental jewel... In 2015, Manly Warringah War Memorial Park now has three additional threats to its fragile biodiversity.

Threat 1-primary school threatens endangered species.

Manly Vale Public School, in Sunshine St, has lodged a Development Application with Warringah Council ( View Documents Here ) to build a new school in bushland behind the current school. There are currently 400 plus students at the school..this would be expanded to over 1,000. The on-line documents show that the school's "footprint" would grow five fold and that 4.37 hectares of bushland would be "removed" primarily for Fire Asset Protection Zones. This bushland is a mixture of "Coastal Sandstone Heath Mallee, Sandstone Gully Forest and Sydney Sandstone Woodland  and is rated"very high" conservation value on Warringah Council maps). To comply with fire regulations the bushland would need to be cleared across the boundary into the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, a natural area much valued by the community. The online documents show amazingly that the Eastern Pygmy Possum has been located on site (this unusual creature doesn't even appear as existing in the current Manly Warringah War Memorial Park Plan of Management!) A segment of highly endangered "Duffys Forest Vegetation Community""is also present..this comprises some of the rarest plant life on the planet !!

In addition to this, four other endangered fauna species ( the Powerful Owl,  the Red Crowned Toadlet,the Eastern Bentwing Bat and the Grey Headed Flying Fox). Other iconic species animals such as Swamp Wallabies, Echidna's, Lace Monitors and Bandicoots also call this ridge-top location home. In fact surveys conducted (after a prescribed burn) have located 44 fauna species and 131 native plant species on site. Flora and Fauna Consultants, Total Earth Care conclude that  the proposal is "likely to have a 'significant impact' on the following threatened species:  Prostanthera marifolia Tetratheca glandulosa  Pimelea curviflora var. curviflora  Red-crowned Toadlet  Southern Brown Bandicoot. The Consulting Company 'Kleinfelder' in it's Preliminary Species Impact Statement remarks that the proposal would "contribute to ongoing incremental loss and degradation of habitat for (the listed endangered species) in the Warringah LGA". 

Check this link for rare and endangered animals in Warringah going going....

The development plans also include substantial excavations for stormwater ponds, pipes and roads in a fragile catchment area that drains ultimately into Manly Creek via Mermaid Pool the site of an important ongoing restoration project Mermaid Pool Restoration Blog

What makes this matter worse is that the community managed to save much of this same land in 1995 when a plan by Landcom to build a medium density housing project here was rejected and the land was ultimately incorporated into
Manly Warringah War Memorial Park.  This is in an area currently earmarked for  the fire buffer zone clearing. Development across the site has the potential to  also disturb  Aboriginal cultural heritage items.

The irony is that this school was once designated as a NSW “Centre of Excellence in Environmental Education”. Even their own designated "conservation" area is scheduled for destruction ! Despite this the school's website proclaims that "the school has maintained an ongoing commitment to environmental education which is integrated into daily life" Surely there is a better way to improve this facility without sacrificing an area of such high natural values!  Why can't the school use their current building footprint and build up instead of out
Google Map

This is the environmental Education Bill as introduced by Dr Terry Metherall (NSW Liberal Government) in 1992 Hansard

Check out this media release from the Total Environment Centre, on the importance of conserving this "Urban Sanctuary"

Check out this short video focusing on efforts to protect this special place

Sadly on Threatened Species Day (7th September) 2017. Contractors moved in to commence clearing The school's historic outdoor classroom area has been destroyed. This was home to the closest colony of Eastern Pygmy Possums to Sydney's CBD.  Eight more acres of bushland are scheduled to be cleared in 2018 for a massive fire break. This will impact into two public reserves (Manly Warringah War Memorial Park and Condover Reserve..

Threat 2- Sydney Water land sale.

Community members in Mike Bair’s electorate were shocked to see a large area of much valued bushland adjoining Garigal National Park and Manly Warringah War Meorial Park listed for sale by Auction in the Manly Daily ( (16th May 2015) presumably for potential development.

It appears that this is just one of a number of proposes Sydney Water “assets” that are earmarked for sale.

According to the Warringah LEP 1985 zoning map, the land in question was zoned County Open Space similar to other Crown land around the boundaries of the catchment that has since been incorporated into the Manly Warringah WM Park.  It is not clear why the land was not included in the Park.  However, the adjoining land, with the reservoir, is zoned for special uses in the 1985 zoning map, so it is presumably the land was assigned to Sydney Water.   Warringah Council’s WLEP2000 did not identify special uses sites, which is why these sites were converted to R2 residential in the translation to WLEP2011 Could the matter please be investigated and the former zoning as County Open Space be urgently recognised- before the land is sold ?  Otherwise an important and fragile area of the Manly Dam /Manly Lagoon catchment will be lost forever.

.(There is another property adjoining  Bantry Reservoir that additionally needs protection)


THREAT 3 -Commercialization of land in the catchment

Warringah Council wants to lease out sensitive bushland adjacent to the Warringah Aquatic Centre to allow for development. This will also be detrimental to the Manly Dam catchment.

Warringah Council has (very questionably) withdrawn the entire Warringah Aquatic Centre precinct from the War Memorial Park Management Plan and has an elaborate 'Master Plan" to develop and commercialise the area.  There seems to be little consideration of the fact that this land is at the top of the sensitive Manly Dam catchment and that expansive areas of rare vegetation would need to be cleared to comply with modern fire safety regulations. Council eventually concurred that a much needed environmental impact study needed to be instigated before further action is taken  (surely the high conservation value of the area is well documented).  The EIS has now been completed and it confirms that development on the designated land parcel (with required land clearing for fire protection) would impact negatively on the sensitive catchment and even lead to destruction of an area of critically endangered "Duffy's Forest Ecological Community" bushland. Warringah's Councillors, seemingly ignoring the fact that this is Crown Land and part of "Manly Warringah War Memorial Park", have advertised for tenders to commercially develop this land (28.11.15).

THREAT 4 - Massive New Roadways Are Destroying Wildlife Corridors.

Check out the plans for immense new freeways past the new French's Forest Hospital (which in itself has replaced a site of incredibly high ecological significance.

Stage 2 Environmental Impact Statement.

Another 7 hectares of bushland is earmarked to be flattened here, important wildlife corridors are being replaced by increased roadkill and the fragile Manly Dam Catchment will be exposed to increased siltation and stormwater pollution.