LANE COVE Council has called on the NSW government to reverse its zoning to allow 2500 new apartments after a consultant's report suggested removing more than 80 per cent of trees in an adjacent reserve to reduce the risk of bushfire.
The council resolved unanimously to write to the federal Environment Minister, Tony Burke, and lobby the incoming state government to protect the bushland by reversing an earlier decision by the Department of Planning to rezone a gully of residential housing to allow apartment blocks that the council believes could be up to six stories.
Plans to permit the blocks of apartments next to Batten Reserve have infuriated the council and residents, some of whom have worked for 40 years to regenerate the patches of littoral rainforest.
''This whole thing is unbelievable; it does not fit with the government's strategy to build near shops and transport,'' said Frances Vissel, the president of the Stringy Bark Creek Residents Association, which has been restoring the bush since 1993.
The battle over the reserve is another flashpoint in the government's campaign to squeeze more people into Sydney by requiring all councils to zone land for medium and high-density development to provide for a 40 per cent growth in population over the next 30 years.