BROULEE and Mossy Point residents turned out in force to Eurobodalla Shire Council’s meeting on Tuesday to voice their concerns about not being consulted on a development proposed to increase Broulee’s population by 40 per cent.
The proposed 500-dwelling staged development has been held up for decades after the state government declared the area an endangered ecological community.
The council paved the way for the development to proceed after it passed its Broulee biodiversity certification strategy last year, which stipulated how cleared vegetation could be offset.
The council on Tuesday hoped to faciliate the development by seeking to ammend its Local Environment Plan and Development Control Plan.
A report presented to council stated staff had worked closely with land owners to develop a draft concept plan, which had led to several changes.
These included rezoning the land from “low density” to “medium density”, thus allowing for a mix of dwellings, townhouses and flats.
It was also proposed that the minimum lot size be reduced from 550 square metres to 450 square metres, and these sized lots be limited to 50 per cent of the total area.
To make the amendments, the council must apply for a “gateway determination” from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
Council considered yesterday whether to apply for the determination.
Eight Broulee and Mossy Point residents, including several representatives of the Broulee Mossy Point Community Association, voiced concerns at the meeting.
They all requested the council to defer its decision to apply for the determination, pending community consultation.
They argued the council had not consulted with the Broulee community about the proposal since its biodiversity certification strategy was passed in June last year, and members only knew about the latest developments after a council media release on Friday.
Most were not against the development and accepted it would go ahead, however expressed their wish to have a say on such a large change to their village.
They also expressed concern more lots and the inclusion of “affordable housing” might significantly alter the feel of the village.
Broulee’s Liza Lloyd-Jones recalled growing up in Broulee and playing in the Bangalay Sand Forest.
She said there was a lot of “angst, outrage and disbelief” in the community about the development, which stemmed from a lack of consultation and detail.
“We care for what goes on in our own backyard,” she said.
“We are more than capable of working with the developers, if you give us the chance.”
Mossy Point resident Linda Chapman, and Broulee resident Michelle Mitchell, spoke of the opportunity to do something different.
Ms Chapman said the community needed a “collaborative and connected approach”.
“Might it not be possible to deliver a really imaginative and creative development that truly does retain some of the characteristic of Broulee?” she said.
“It is hard to comment, given no detailed plans, however my real concern is that we will see another urban expansion that maximises dwelling size on small lots, leaving no room for vegetation; an urban area that is characterised by wall-to-wall dwellings.”
In debating the recommendation to apply for the gateway determination, councillors expressed sympathy for both the community and developers.
While the council planned to consult the community formally after the determination was received from the state government, Cr Liz Innes said the council had “missed an opportunity” to first engage with the community.
She said once the master plan was drawn up, it would cost time and money to amend.
The council will forward the proposal to the Planning Minister and consult the community and government agencies when a reply is given.
Cr Neil Burnside recommended an information session be held before the matter went to formal consultation, which was supported.
For the developer’s response to the changes, pick up a copy of Friday’s Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.