RURAL ROUND UP

natural environment
Councilor Warren Waddell

Once in a while an item comes before Council that really tests our capacity to strike a balance between our much-loved natural environment and our rights as individual property owners to reside and conduct business on our land. Especially when proposed changes are quite technical in nature. Item 6 at the last Council meeting was one of those occasions. I’ll attempt to explain….

Terrestrial Biodiversity Maps, (TBM) – WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR RESIDENTS?

In addition to the publicly owned National Parks and other public lands a large proportion of our privately held land contains significant native vegetation. If owners or occupiers of private lands are encumbered with a TBM and wish to modify their property in any way, it may be subject to a DA process. Even if the modification would ordinarily be considered a complying or exempt development.

Currently there are 1750 property owners impacted by a TBM. During the last Council meeting a proposal to adopt the latest TBM and to expand the assessment criteria was adopted. This proposal expanded the number of properties affected to 12150. The adopted motion included a workshop aimed at reducing the impact of these changes on minor property improvements.

I personally did not support the motion on the basis it would impact on such a significant number of residents within the rural area without adequate consultation. I believe that adopting the most recent mapping technology was a responsible action to support. However, the expanded assessment criteria and the potential impact on the everyday applicant attempting to improve their property was a step too far.

Should the final paper being prepared for a future Council meeting progress to the State Planning Dept. the changes would then go out to the public on exhibition.

Given the importance of this proposal and the significant impact it could have on rural property owners and rural activities I am happy to be contacted to discuss further. [email protected] or Ph: 0499 004 861.

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