Green power lost by communities

THE template which councils are being forced to use indeveloping their local environmental plans is taking power away from communities, says Greens MLC Lee Rhiannon.

In Ballina yesterday she met Ed Standfield, the president of the North East Surfing Alliance.

He presented her with a petition with more than 1500 signatures, calling for better environmental protection along the coast between Lennox Head and Flat Rock.

Under Ballina Shire Council's draft LEP the land is zoned E2.

Greens candidate for Page, Jeff Johnson, said this would still allow for 38 different uses.

“People value our reserves and want them protected from future development,” he said.

“The environment zones have been reduced from seven to three, which has resulted in Ballina council staff increasing the number of permissible uses in areas that have high conservation value.”

Ms Rhiannon said she would table Mr Standfield's petition in State Parliament.

“There is a clear call from the community for greater environmental protection, not only for the coastal zone, but for all areas with high conservation value,” she said.

“We have got to be very noisy. These laws are loaded against the community. I have been hearing lots of complaints about the LEP template. Local councils have had their powers diminished.”

Ballina Environment Society spokesman Lee Andresen agreed the E2 zoning was not good enough.

“This area has littoral rainforest, paperbark wetlands, coastal cypress communities and Themeda grasslands,” he said.

“It's really quite rare.”

While on the Northern Rivers, Ms Rhiannon also met Lismore City councillorVanessa Ekins about the proposed expansion of Champions Quarry at Tucki Tucki.

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