BY HOLLIE HUGHES AND SANZIANA TIMIS
The future of a section of land along the Salamander Bay foreshore will be decided tonight at the Port Stephens Council meeting.
Councillors will vote on whether to sell off the 557-square-metre public site to developers which has been in council hands since 1977.
Mayor Ryan Palmer wants to use the sale to fund part of the $65-million-dollar Tomaree Sports Complex upgrade, however Port Stephens MP Kate Washington is urging them not to go ahead with the move.
Washington says the plans are short-sighted as the sale will not provide significant funds for the development and will directly
threaten the vital koala habitat situated along the foreshore.
The proceeds for the sale will be unlikely to surpass 1% of the $65 million-dollar total cost of the sport complex upgrade.
Any development on the site will place additional strain upon the local threatened koala species, particularly during the highly disruptive construction stage.
Washington says that there is "little point investing money in the koala hospital if we don't also retain their habitat."
"Yes, everyone wants these sporting facilities upgraded but it should not be at the cost of precious habitat and public land like this."