Today saw a passionate group (some captured here with their placards) attend Council's meeting to hear the responses offered to Councillor Anthony Mayne in regards to his pointed questions on the Rural Land Strategy Proposal. While submissions have closed it is feared by those attending the meeting today that Council's actions will further erode the undermine the environmental constraints that currently exist and open the doors to development
A member of the gathering (wishing to remain unnamed) told The Beagle, "the Council try to make out that the amendments to the Local Environment Plan 2012 are complex. "But it is simple: the proposed amendments will exclude environmental management zoning (E3) from 380 km2 of private land and increasing grazing in E2 zone. In addition the period for public comment for the proposed amendments has been too short for such a far-reaching and complex legal document. "This planning proposal contains serious long term negative impacts for the Nature Coast, its economy, which is centred around the tourism industry and the emerging oyster industry. The proposed amendments will create development at any cost at the expense of the environment and good planning. "Earlier LEPs in the Shire recognised high conservation value forests, endangered ecosystems, habitat corridors, wetlands and riparian corridors that needed protection over some 38,000 ha of rural land. Now, they have been removed in the current Proposal and many additional uses that are not primary production are to be allowed with consent in rural zones. "As well, wetland areas, some 4500 ha it is estimated, zoned as E2 Environmental Conservation on public and private lands and including SEPP 14 wetlands are to permit grazing as an exempt activity. "Many of these proposed changes are opposed by State agencies including the Rural Fire Service, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the South East Local Land Services. "DPI Fisheries and DPI water have also expressed concerns. Council admits that the Proposal is in parts inconsistent with both advice from the State agencies and Directions from the Minister for planning for the preparation of Planning Proposals." There were also members of Coastwatchers present at the meeting and readers are encouraged to read their final submission HERE.