After a six years of uncertainty Eurobodalla’s rural land owners can have some confidence in planning for their future after Councillors yesterday approved Eurobodalla’s rural lands planning proposal.
Council will now forward the planning proposal to the NSW Planning Minister and request the changes be made to the Eurobodalla Local Environment Plan 2012, which sets out how rural land can be used in Eurobodalla.
At a marathon meeting of Council on Tuesday, councillors heard 21 passionate presentations, both for and against the proposal. Some community members raised their concerns about potential impacts on Eurobodalla’s natural environment. This was offset by presentations from rural land producers, who came out in in support, telling the packed Chambers of the uncertainty their families had faced over the past six years, how over-regulation was crippling the industry and how they valued and protected the natural environment on their land.
In recommending the planning proposal for adoption, Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes said she had listened to all sides over the past six years and had “absolute confidence” in the process.
“I’m so very proud to have been a part of it and to have delivered this for our community after all these years,” she said.
“It was an incredible day, we heard a lot of really passionate views from a lot of people – including from people who have been involved in this for a very long time. It was really an honour for me to be part of that and understand there is genuine passion and goodwill from our rural sector.
“Some unnecessary fear over the past few weeks has been projected into our community so it was really reassuring to hear firsthand from rural producers. These people are genuine conservationists, they are productive, they are passionate and at the end of today I have absolutely no doubt that we have, through this rural LEP process, given them the foundation to see an incredibly vibrant, productive, rural sector into the future, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The proposal’s purpose is to update the zoning of rural land throughout the shire to bring it in line with a new NSW Government standard LEP. It is based on the recommendations of Council’s Rural Lands Strategy, which was developed with involvement from community over four years and adopted by Council in 2016.
The strategy takes into account all relevant economic, social and environmental issues and recommends a modest increase in development, focussed on growth in small-scale agriculture. Across the whole shire, only 122 additional lots and 247 potential additional dwellings are facilitated by the planning proposal and these are mostly infill developments on land already cleared.
Any and all development proposals would still require the same rigorous development assessment in accordance with the relevant NSW Government environment, bushfire and clearing legislation and policies, as they are now.
Contrary to media reports, the proposal does not increase the potential for clearing for agricultural activities in bushland areas and does not permit grazing on environmentally sensitive land, including on coastal wetlands.
Along with the planning proposal, Council will send all submissions received from the community to the Planning Minister for his consideration before making the requested LEP amendments.
For more information about the rural lands proposal and strategy, visit Council’s website www.esc.nsw.gov.au/inside-council/project-and-exhibitions/rural-lands-strategy