Residents of the Eurobodalla might be wondering just what is happening with the Eurobodalla's new Local Environment Plan. Liz Innes, the Eurobodalla Mayor has been on the public record saying that she is not happy with changes that were made by the NSW Department of Planning and will be lobbying for these to be amended. The Department of Planning today confirmed that the Council's draft had been amended to restrict the development of 7 areas with extremely high bushfire risk. A spokesperson for the Nature Coast Alliance told the Beagle "The Council had failed to undertake a strategic fire assessment in developing the plan, as requested multiple times by the Rural Fire Service and required by the NSW Planning for Bushfire Protection guidelines. The Council's proposal for these 7 areas would have put the lives of future residents and fire fighters at risk and destroy property." "There is no mystery about the Department of Planning's changes which were outlined in Andrew Constance's initial media release on 11 October 2019. The mystery is why these clearly non-compliant areas were included in the Rural Lands Planning Proposal in the first place."
"The Nature Coast Alliance is disappointed that the Minister for Planning failed to adopt the Department of Planning's preferred option, which would have kept a number of planning protections in the Local Environment Plan.
◦ retaining the biodiversity map and relevant clause in the LEP;
◦ taking on board OEH's recommendations that 15 environmentally sensitive areas were unsuitable for additional development; and
◦ removing the exemption that allows grazing of livestock in environmental conservation lands."
"Instead the Minister chose the option which allows open zoning tables in rural areas, where effectively anything goes, and devolves planning decisions to Council's Development Control Plan, which is discretionary only", said the NCA spokesperson
"The NSW Government needs to live up to its statutory responsibilities for land management in NSW by putting the Eurobodalla Council on P Plates and closely monitoring them to ensure they comply with their Development Control Plan and all of the existing NSW legislation and regulations, e.g. the Rural Fires Act, the Biodiversity Conservation Act and Local Land Services Act etc."
The Department of Planning advised a group who met with Planing staff in Wollongong today that that the new Eurobodalla Local Environment Plan is available on-line at http://leptracking.planning.nsw.gov.au/proposaldetails.php?rid=5089 . It is now understood that any further changes to the Plan would require a whole new planning process, now that the plan has been formally signed off by the Minister. "The new arrangements will result in pressure being applied to Councillors, Council planning staff and the Rural Fire Service to meet the unrealistic expectations of large landowners and developers." said the NCA spokesperson.
"If this was not bad enough, Council recently adopted a policy of not notifying landholders about new development proposals that are likely to affect them. Whether you are an urban or rural landowner, your neighbours will be able to undertake a whole raft of developments (especially on rural lands) and you will be unaware of them until after Council approval is given and works have commenced. This is a recipe for dramatically increasing land use conflict between neighbours, as foreshadowed by NSW agency submissions to Eurobodalla Council."
Bangalay Forest - an endangered ecosystem . Photo supplied