THE unexpected discovery of Sloane’s froglet has been made at the future home of a multi-million dollar neighbourhood centre in Thurgoona.
Albury Council’s planning and development committee this week recommended approval for the first stage of development on the corner of Thurgoona Drive and Table Top Road near the existing plaza.
Pending the council’s approval will see the creation of a car wash along with access roads, drainage and habitat management for future development stages.
But the discovery of the froglet, which emerged from research carried out by a Charles Sturt University student, occurred about the same time land owners drained an existing dam on the site and before approval had been granted.
The dam was not a known preferred habitat of the frog.
The developers have been instructed to provide additional movement corridors and habitat areas in the property’s south-east corner.
The frog’s natural habitats include sub-tropical or tropical environments, seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland and intermittent freshwater marshes.
The revised froglet habitat has been ticked off by the council’s environmental planning staff and been incorporated into the consent conditions.
An initial development application was lodged last October by Florin Investment Group before amended plans were submitted for a car wash in the north-west corner, a revised car wash layout and public access road on the southern boundary designed for future extension when the site becomes fully developed.
Thurgoona Progress Association raised concerns with both the original and revised plans.
“It is extremely concerning that the established dam on the site has been drained prior to approval of the development application being finalised and before a thorough environmental assessment was done,” the association said.
Cr David Thurley quizzed the council’s planning and environment director Michael Keys on aspects of the proposal including the dam drainage.
“If somebody chooses to undertake development without notifying us it is usually their decision,” Mr Keys said.
“Unfortunately, it does happen on occasions and there may have been some miscommunication.
“Once council became aware of it we took action to try to rectify it.
“We’ve looked for a long-term outcome that provides and protects that location for the continued presence and surv- ival of Sloane’s froglet.”