Maitland City Council is calling for community comment on the environment and former Greens candidate John Brown is sceptical.
Mr Brown and council had a run in recently about the destruction of Bolwarra Wetlands - an environmental sanctuary created by the suburb's Landcare group, part of which was bulldozed to make way for residential development.
Council has called for the community's thoughts to assist in the development of natural resource management programs. Planning, Environment and Lifestyle Manager Bernie Mortomore said by understanding what the community thinks about our natural environment, council can guide future environmental campaigns.
Mr Brown welcomes the survey and said it is long overdue but still timely as the threats of climate change worsen. "Our natural assets are the lungs of the city," he said. "But council should firstly acknowledge its past mistakes and make some assurance to residents that their concerns will be listened to and acted upon. I continually wrote to council to explain how developers were allowed to strip Bolwarra Wetlands of most of the trees planted by volunteers. The reserve was a wildlife sanctuary and used by the public for more than 20 years before it was desecrated.
"Eventually I helped arrange a meeting with the mayor and a senior manager where a local resident presented them with a petition containing 200 names to protest against the Bolwarra destruction. Nothing happened."
Several years ago, Mr Brown helped organise a support group of more than 100 residents to establish a community garden in William Street, East Maitland. The plan was well advanced yet they were met with silence from council. Mr Brown said he was told by a senior manager that council does not offer support for community gardens.
Mr Brown has learned of other issues where people complain about the loss of bio-diversity and the destruction of trees to make way for more housing.
Residents can comment at an online survey on council's website which will focus on council's interaction with the natural environment, particularly vegetation in reserves behind homes. The survey closes May 28.