UPEROLEIA mahonyi – the Mahoney’s toadlet, or “Flasher” to his mates – appeared as a “currently undescribed” frog in a species impact statement prepared for Transport for NSW in May, 2016.
The statement forms part of the government’s assessment process for its proposed Intercity rail maintenance facility at Kangy Angy on the Central Coast.
It is fair to say selection of the flood-prone Kangy Angy site and the subsequent assessment process, which is on-going, have been fraught and the subject of sustained criticism by affected Kangy Angy residents and sections of the broader community.
The appearance of “Flasher” – so named because of its tendency to “flash” a stripe on its stomach when threatened – has prolonged the assessment process because the toadlet’s rarity has led to its identification as a potentially threatened species.
A review of a second species impact statement prompted by the toadlet’s surprise appearance in the first study, even before it was named as a new species in late 2016, has been criticised for lacking detail and recommending mitigation efforts to protect “Flasher” from the development.
The Kangy Angy saga – with contracts already let for associated infrastructure before the facility is approved – shows why community trust in governments is at an all-time low.
Investigations by residents and freedom of information requests showed Kangy Angy was only chosen after the then Wyong Shire Council threatened “political level” opposition. The council added insult to injury by then selling land it owned at the site to the NSW Government, and calling the sale a “win” for the council.
Residents have complained that an assessment process controlled by Transport for NSW lacks the independence needed to ensure Kangy Angy won’t end up being another costly over-run by a government department that has a track of record of embarrassing over-runs.
The government’s own documents, obtained by residents under freedom of information legislation, show that the 2019 deadline for when the Intercity trains start operating between Sydney and Newcastle has been the driving force since the project was announced in 2015.
Residents in a little rural pocket of the Central Coast are left feeling railroaded as an industrial facility is muscled in.