Concerns over environmental protection with draft LEP

Menkit Prince outside the workshop held at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Troy Kippen
Menkit Prince outside the workshop held at the Tweed Heads Civic Centre Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Troy Kippen

ABOUT 50 residents were at a council workshop on the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) on Wednesday night demanding answers to their environmental and zoning concerns.

It was the largest gathering to date at a series of Tweed Shire Council workshops on the 2012 LEP, only two days before the end public submissions deadline.

Bilambil Heights land owner Chris Roberts was at the meeting because his land was classified as a rural zone in the draft LEP after receiving assurances from the council that it would be put under environmental protection.

"We got environmental protection on this property about five years ago. I got an assurance that it would be on the LEP," Mr Roberts said.

"But they have gone back to the mapping of 2010.

"I'm definitely disappointed about that decision, but we still own it so we can ensure it will be looked after."

Mr Roberts said his concern was about what would happen if the property was sold and its future use.

"It just seems crazy to me that the council has all the information on areas that need environmental protection but they are not using it for this LEP," he said.

Mr Roberts said environmental protection on the property would reduce rates costs and taxes because of decreased land values.

Tweed Shire Council planning and regulation director Vince Connell said at the meeting that Mr Roberts was not the only person in that situation.

"There are still a range of environmental protection measures arising from the Tweed Vegetation Management Strategy that have been incorporated in the Draft Tweed LEP 2012, including a Terrestrial Biodiversity Overlay Map as well as additional and enhanced environmental clauses, that still require a detailed assessment of any vegetation loss relating to new developments across many parts of the shire," Mr Connell said in a statement.

Mr Connell said the meeting was productive for officers.

"The Tweed Heads meeting was well attended, and the officers were appreciative of the detailed feedback and respectful manner in which the meeting was conducted," Mr Connell said.

"Council undertook a comprehensive program of promotion of the public exhibition, as supported by detailed web site resources and six public presentation sessions.

"The attendance at these meetings was generally disappointing, but all councils typically face the challenge of attracting attendance at these meetings."

Topics:  environmental protection

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