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Oyster Growers Reject Council Development Plan : Nature Coast Alliance

In a media release from the Nature Coast Alliance, spokesperson Noel Plumb said that two well-known and respected Nature Coast oyster growers, Kevin McAsh and Brian Coxon, are most unhappy with Eurobodalla Shire Council’s recent action to push through its controversial Rural Lands Planning Proposal. Mr Plumb said "They accuse the Council of brushing aside legitimate objections by the industry and expert scientific and technical advisers including the Fisheries Division of the Depart. of Primary Industry (DPI -Fisheries). [DPI report attached]

In the media release Brian Coxon from Wagonga Inlet quoted as saying, “I am angry. Council bungled the community consultation on the planning proposal and the preceding rural lands strategy. They had the blinkers on and only paid attention to a small group of large landholders and developers.”

“They have deliberately tried to drown the oyster grower’s voices and ignore our increasing concerns and objections as we, like so many in the community, realise the long term, highly negative impacts of these planning proposals on our industry and the Shire as a whole.”

“I am almost speechless that council would even consider going ahead with this given all the negative advice they have been given by all govt departments involved, obviously council staff think they are smarter than all the information available, well I believe they are not smarter but in fact they are showing their total ignorance & obvious contempt for the Oyster Industry.”

“I am so disappointed that we as an industry still have to fight on a daily basis for our future (survival), I have been writing to council and others for 35 years about the decline in water quality and poor planning decisions made by Eurobodalla Shire Council…”

“I asked Council to have letters from me and Kevin together with Mr Grices independent scientific report read to them as an address at their meeting of 11 September and they refused on a technicality. In fact, they were wrong on that also.”

The Nature Coast Alliance media release quotes Kevin McAsh from the Clyde River in saying ‘I am spitting chips.” “Council pushed through their planning proposal for the Rural Lands Strategy on 28 August and Council officers told the packed public gallery and media that oyster growers were satisfied with Council assurances that new developments would not threaten the industry.”

“I believe Council deliberately ignored a letter from me dated 27 August with an attached independent scientists report (Mr D. Grice) that rebuts Council’s claims. What do they not understand about the strong objections on numerous grounds by DPI – Fisheries, by Local Land Services and other expert agencies. Council has offered no independent or internal expert advice, only assertions by their town planners.”

“They should have told the public the truth, that no systematic consultation was initiated by Council with the oyster growers. Council only met a very small and unrepresentative group of growers at the last minute. They misinformed and misled this group and have done their best to stifle growers concerns about the impact on our industry, worth $9 million a year to the Shire. We are also a fast growing tourist attraction.”

"Only the Deputy Mayor, Anthony Mayne, supported by Councillor Pat McGinlay, has truly listened to us and many hundreds of other objectors across the Shire. Unfortunately, his calls for consultation with expert State agencies like DPI – Fisheries before proceeding were dismissed by Mayor Innes and her supporting Councillors. “

Noel Plumb, spokesperson for the Nature Coast Alliance said in the media release, “This is not a rural lands strategy, it is a hidden coastal development strategy which will sacrifice our clean water and biodiversity as it permits a thousand development cuts over the next decade or two; cuts that will see more forest cleared, more steep land eroded, more nutrient and siltation flows into the rivers and estuaries vital to our key industries and community amenity.”

#Community #Council #LocalStateFederal #Opinion

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