Draft LEP goes to state government for approval

AFTER years of studies, meetings and submissions, Shoalhaven City Council’s draft local environment plan has been sent to the state government for approval.The process is still not over, with the amended document expected to be exhibited for a further 28 days once it gets government approval. There will also be more time spent considering additional submissions.Council adopted the draft LEP during an extraordinary meeting on Thursday night, voting to send the plan to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for approval, allowing it to be re-exhibited.The first exhibition attracted about 3000 submissions which were summarised in 50 reports discussed during 29 special meetings of council’s development committee over several months.The process resulted in several changes to the draft planning documents.“Council began holding special development committee meetings in March and while it has been a lengthy process it has been of the utmost importance that councillors give their full attention to each report and submission,” said Shoalhaven Mayor Paul Green.“Council has considered each of the 3000 submissions received throughout the exhibition period and the 50 separate reports that have come before the special development committees.“Now the initial review process is completed, council will submit the document and maps with the recent changes to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure for their approval.“Once this has been granted, the draft SLEP will be re-exhibited for a further 28-day period.”Cr Green expected the 28-day re-exhibition to occur later in the year.The plan’s process almost hit a roadblock on Wednesday night when the last special development committee meeting was unable to conclude after Crs Amanda Findley and John Fergusson walked out.The pair had been arguing the same line after Cr Findley moved a motion and Cr Fergusson amended it but a Cr Greg Watson amendment set them at loggerheads, resulting in council deciding to remove biodiversity mapping.Cr Findley said the decision would have a major impact on people buying urban land.Removing the mapping did not change anyone’s responsibility under biodiversity regulations, Cr Findley said, but reduced the amount of information available to potential purchasers and developers.“It’s like removing flood mapping, which is important information telling people about what areas are flood prone and subject to relevant regulations,” Cr Findley said.She said council’s decision was out of step with the community.“The hypocrisy of this group of councillors is staggering; they pay homage to our great tourism asset of environment, yet do the opposite when it comes to policy,” Cr Findley said.“During my four years on this council I have endured a never-ending stream of policy changes with the express intent of degrading our environment, an attack on tree policy, and disrespect for an army of Bushcare volunteers.“The making of the new environment plan is no exception,” she said.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.