During Public Forum at last Tuesday's (Feb 28th, 2017) meeting the following address was made by resident Trish Hellier in regards to the State Environmental Planning Policy – Coastal Management Good morning Mayor Innes, Councillors, staff, gallery, those comfortably live streaming at home and my Mum watching me from above.
My name is Patricia Hellier from North Batemans Bay and I would like to address Council ITEM No. PSR17/003 COUNCIL SUBMISSION: State Environmental Planning Policy – Coastal Management
Whilst I acknowledged I am not “all over this issue of Coastal Management “I have read the content of this submission, I have concerns in relation to the closing date of the Policy being the 20th January 2017, and have read Mayor Innes letter attached to this agenda (copy below) , however, how will this late submission be viewed by the Department of Planning and Environment, firstly how will it reflect on the Eurobodalla Shire Council, and secondly how will it reflect on the contents of this submission? I believe that some individuals and community groups sought an extension of time to submit their submission and their request were rejected by the Minister. If ESC submission is accepted would it be in breach of the Minister direction? I, like many ask why there wasn’t a Special Meeting called of Councillors prior to the submission closing date? It has been suggested it was the “timing” due to the Christmas break, I would suggest that a serious look is undertaken in relation to staff holidays and important issue like this submission and their due dates, it was recognised in October 2015 that a Special Meeting was needed to expedite the Rural Lands process and the meeting was called.
Rate payers of this shire have been inflicted with a 21.6% Special Rate Rise and therefore there is expectations that we have the most experienced staff employed in this shire, we assume that issues such as important as this submission is in the hand of responsible officers of this shire, as the outcome of this final policy could affect many home and land owners in this shire.
I am pleased to see the concerns raised by our community regarding the mapping of vulnerable areas have been incorporated in this submission but given the late date of the submission there are many who are sceptical that this submission will not be considered and the ESC submission will go onto a late submission file and never see the light of day.
28th February 2017 Response from Lindsay Usher, Director of Planning and Sustainability Services, to Ms Patricia Hellier at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 28 February 2017. Through you madam Mayor. Thank you Miss Hellier for your vote of confidence in myself and my staff in preparing the submission. Council lobbied the Government quite extensively about the timing of the exhibition. We think the timing of the exhibition of such an important issue was a very poor choice by the NSW Government and although they did provide an extension, it wasn’t to our mind, an appropriate length of time. Councillors have been kept abreast of this issue throughout the exhibition period. They have been aware of the timing and the fact that it would be a late submission and we discussed this issue again this morning. Council could have held a special meeting but given the importance of the issues we are raising, we needed to also meet with the Coastal and Environmental Management Advisory Committee, which we have done, to get their input. A number of the concerns raised by that group were also included in the submission. So the Government’s been made aware that our submission would be coming in this timeframe due to the Council meeting cycle. The issues that we are raising, I’m of the view that other councils are also raising and our submission will add weight to those submissions. I think if the Department of Planning and the Minister choose to ignore our submission, given that they were advised of the timing of our response, I think that’s on their heads not on ours, given the community interest in this matter and importance of the issues raised.