Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes has moved to reassure local oyster growers and environmental groups that the Rural Lands Strategy planning proposal currently on public exhibition will continue to protect the shire’s catchment areas from the impacts of development.
“It is absolutely in the council’s interests to protect catchment areas from the impacts of development and the RLS planning proposal does this,” she said.
Her comments follow grower Kevin’s McCash’s concerns aired at the council meeting on Tuesday, June 12.
“When we prepared the strategy, the steering committee’s aim was to protect our rural industries. This means there is limited subdivision potential in water catchment areas and important agricultural lands,” Cr Innes said.
“In the entire Clyde River catchment, the strategy allows for a maximum of nine additional lots to be created by subdivision and potential for up to 20 additional dwellings. The majority of these are located more than four kilometres from the Clyde River.
“Of course, any proposed subdivision or new dwelling in the catchment would require development consent from Council, would be assessed against NSW Government legislation, and conditions would be applied to prevent detrimental impacts to water quality.
“I do understand the concerns raised by one of our oyster growers at Tuesday’s council meeting, but as Mayor and a member of the RLS steering committee for the four years of its preparation, I am confident the minimal additional development potential in the Clyde River catchment will not pose a risk to the oyster industry.
“I also acknowledge the concerns raised by Coastwatchers and the South Coast Health and Sustainability Alliance, however, claims that the planning proposal will result in significant and widespread subdivision of rural land and clearing of bushland are simply not correct.
“Right across Eurobodalla, the planning proposal allows for a total of 122 new lots and 255 new dwellings. Of the 70 different areas identified in the planning proposal, 19 areas have no additional potential for lots or dwellings and 25 provide for no more than three additional lots and/or three additional dwellings.
“This scale of potential development across Eurobodalla is modest.
“For land that is or is proposed to be zoned RU1 Primary Production, the number of new lots that could be developed is 60, representing a two per cent increase on the existing number of lots. For land proposed to be zoned RU4 Primary Production Small Lots or E4 Environmental Living, the number of new lots that could be developed is 62, a 19 per cent increase.
“While any increase in the number of lots and dwellings may result in some additional clearing of vegetation, development consent from Council is required and proposals must comply with the provisions of the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. This Act requires a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report to be prepared by a qualified consultant and the Act includes offsetting requirements.”
Clr Innes also addressed concerns about the potential for additional clearing for agriculture in rural areas, stating there is no greater potential for clearing for agricultural purposes as a result of the planning proposal than exists now.
“Almost all of the land proposed to be zoned RU1 is currently zoned Rural 1(a) under the Rural Local Environmental Plan 1987,” she said.
“Clearing of land in the Rural 1(a) zone for rural purposes is currently regulated by Local Land Services under the Local Land Services Act 2013. This will not change by the proposed zoning of the land to RU1 Primary Production.”
The council is encouraging anyone with concerns about the Rural Lands Planning Proposal to contact its Rural Lands Hotline on 4474 7486. Submissions to the planning proposal should be received by Council by Friday, June 22.
The planning proposal is the final step towards implementing the recommendations of the Eurobodalla Rural Lands Strategy, adopted by the council in 2016.