GREENS candidates for the September 8 Shoalhaven City Council election have vowed to listen to the community on the controversial Local Environment Plan, saying public concerns have been largely ignored.
Candidates Amanda Findley, Terry Barratt and Justin Field said the 3000 submissions made during the LEP process needed to be re-examined to ensure community views were properly represented in the draft LEP.
However they stopped short of calling for the process to start again from scratch.
Ward three representative and mayoral candidate Cr Findley said the template put forward by the previous state government, prompting what had been seen as an administrative exercise to put exiting planning laws into the new template, made it difficult to start again in an effort to get planning documents that were more visionary and inclusive.
“We’re going to end up with a similar result anyway,” Cr Findley said.
“The community doesn’t have a say because of the constraints imposed by the state government.”
During the first public exhibition the draft LEP attracted about 3000 comments and submissions, and a second exhibition period is planned.
“The community’s had a great opportunity to have a say, but the community comments seem to have been ignored,” said ward two candidate Mr Field.
“It is disappointing that the majority of current councillors have failed to listen to the community’s concerns when it came to amending the draft LEP,” Cr Findley added.
“It doesn’t need major changes, it wouldn’t take much to turn it around,” added Mr Barratt, who is standing in ward one.
The draft LEP has been sent to the state government’s Planning Department for approval to re-exhibit it for further community comments, with a further 28-day exhibition period planned.
Cr Findley said that period needed to be extended, because there were serious concerns with what the council had put forward.
“A raft of inappropriate planning directions show that most of the councillors have little intention of standing up for the community,” she said.
“Most of the same councillors aren’t standing again and are leaving behind a terrible legacy.
“The current draft leaves planning so open in the Shoalhaven that in the end the ratepayer will pay the costs of increased challenges via the land and environment court,” Cr Findley said.
Mr Barratt raised particular concerns with plans for major urban growth around Nowra and Bomaderry, inappropriate river foreshore zoning and limited habitat protection.
“The villages around the bay are particularly concerned about the new permitted uses in many of the zones,” Mr Field added.
“Families could find tourism and visitor accommodation including hostels as well as sewage treatment and water supply works right next door. It is a recipe for over-development and will ruin the very things that attract residents and visitors to our region.”