The process of constructing the hotel results in increased runoff due to the clearance of vegetation to accommodate it. The runoff might cause additional deposition of sediments along Athol Bay, causing a modification of the shoreline. This alteration of the shoreline might lead to changes in current and water circulation in the harbour area. As a result, the sediment transport and the distribution pattern of the immediate harbour area, or indeed the entire Sydney harbour, will be negatively impacted upon because of the hotel construction.
The identified problems would have serious implications on the sea because of water pollution. This pollution would occur during the construction stage and later when the facilities are in operation. In the construction phase, pollutants like chemical waste would be released into the sea.
When the construction is complete, the marina and hotel will increase the traffic of yachts near the Taronga Zoo wharf. Yachts pose a significant threat to the sea since they might lead to extensive oil pollution in the event of an oil spill. In addition to this, the harbour will be affected by the use of seawater for heating and cooling purposes by the hotel.
The hotel will require a drainage system and a sewage treatment facility in the harbour. The pipes for these systems will run through the harbour and it is likely that an organism build-up might occur on the pipes. To deal with this, bleach will be introduced into the water to kill the organism, an action that will cause further pollution on the harbour. It is therefore evident that the construction of the marina and hotel will have a negative environmental impact on the harbour.
Impact on Flora and Fauna
Taronga stands out as a native forest endowed with some ornamental landmark plants. The site bears the indigenous smooth-barked apple tree, which characterized the eastern Athol Bay.
The distinctive flora and fauna found around the Athol Bay are likely to be damaged when trees are cleared in the construction phase. This is of concern since damage to the indigenous flora and fauna might lead to the extinction of some native species. The pollution that will occur during construction and once the marina and hotel is operation will devastate marine life.
It is important to try to assess the impact associated with a construction project and one tool to assist in this task is the Leopold matrix, which is a checklist and summary of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the construction project. The matrices provided are appropriate for EIA activities since they link specific actions in the project to a particular environmental aspect.
The Leopold Matrix was developed in the late 1960s by Leopold and his associates. The matrix was an evaluation procedure for landscape aesthetic and it served as the first systematic methodologies in the EIA field that reflected the fact that impacts result from the interaction of development activities and the environment.
Leopold’s procedure is based on a large matrix of horizontal and vertical axis. There are 100 columns and 88 rows in the horizontal and vertical axis respectively with the horizontal axis representing activities that have environmental impacts while the vertical axis represent environmental quality variables such as physical, chemical, biological, cultural, and ecological.
Each identified effect is measured on a magnitude scale of 1-10; where 1 is the minimum and 10 the maximum. The matrix is an interaction matrix since each cell is divided by a diagonal line. The numerical value of the magnitude and importance of the impact is inputted in the relevant half of the cell.