BYRON Shire Council's draft LEP has been put on public display until November 23.
The plan still includes the controversial Environmental Zones 2 and 3 despite the State Government's decision to exclude them from rural zones, meaning further significant changes are expected to the final draft.
"A key feature to protecting what we love the most about Byron Shire lays in its environmental mapping," said Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson.
"Managing the interactions between development and biodiversity values is vital to maintaining the region's much loved lifestyle and environment.
"Council's environmental mapping display these biodiversity values, and the mapping has been released this week on Council's website,"
The interactive mapping layers allow users to see vegetation types, high conservation value vegetation areas, wildlife corridors, koala and threatened fauna habitats, eco wetlands and fish habitats throughout Byron Shire.
Cr Richardson said the various colour coded layers can be turned on and off over a land parcel and when zoomed in, users can see the environmental areas of significance that are located on or near their property.
Council's executive manager of planning, Ray Darney, said environmental mapping began in the 1990s as a result of Byron Shire Council's Flora and Fauna Study in 1999 and the 2004 Biodiversity Conservation Strategy.
"More recently the mapping was updated in 2007 using digital aerial photography from 2004 and the environmental mapping has helped inform the draft Byron Local Environmental Plan 2012 that is currently out on exhibition," Mr Darney said.
"Wildlife corridors and the mapping of high conservation value vegetation areas are not new and anyone wanting to build, or change existing use of a property, needs this information to help inform a development application under the current Byron LEP 1988."
Mr Darney also noted that the environmental mapping had been incorporated into the draft LEP to provide planning consistency and to reflect the current planning requirements for future development.
Although the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, Brad Hazzard, has advised Northern Councils that proposed Environmental Zones should not be applied to rural lands used for agriculture, Mr Darney urged landowners to still make themselves aware of the proposed E2 and E3 zones and make submissions to Council.
"Response so far has been good," Mr Darney said.
"In the first week we've spoken to just under 30 property owners and have had over a thousand people view our draft LEP website and download the documents."
This week also sees the start of the Council's community information sessions where people can drop in anytime at locations throughout the Shire.
I the dates, times and location don't suit, an appointment can be made with a council planner for a one-on-one private interview to raise questions and or concerns about the draft LEP.
Council planning staff are available on 02 6626 7126.
Community Information Sessions - drop in any time:
September 24 - November 23 2012 Make an appointment with a planner. Bookings essential Ph 6626 7126. 9am to 2pm. Byron Shire Council, Station St, Mullumbimby
October 11, 2012 OceanShoresCounty Club Auditorium, Orana Road.
Information session 2pm to 5pm
October 23, 2012 Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club Auditorium, Dalley Street.
Information session 4pm to 7pm
October 25, 2012 Bangalow Moller Pavilion, Bangalow Showgrounds, Rankin Drive. Information session 2pm to 5pm
October 29, 2012 Brunswick Heads Memorial Hall, Fingal Street.
Information session 10am to 1pm
November 8, 2012 Byron Shire Council Deport Training Room, BayshoreDriveByronBay. Information session 4pm to 7pm
November 13, 2012 SuffolkPark Community Centre, Corner Clifford and Alcorn Streets. Information session 2pm to 5pm.
Once the public exhibition period has ended, all submissions will be reported to Council for consideration.