Councillors challenge environmental zones
A GROUP of 11 Northern Rivers councillors who oppose environmental zoning on rural land are concerned that the NSW Planning Department's review of the zones is not being handled properly.
The E zones were cut out of the new draft LEP in September last year by the Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard until a review had been conducted. The removal applied to Kyogle, Lismore, Ballina, Byron and Tweed local government areas.
A backlash by rural landholders concerned about the impact of the E zones on both land values and their ability to conduct farming operations was believed to be behind the review decision.
Now the same councillors representing concerns about E zones are challenging the review process. Four Kyogle councillors have expressed concern, alongside four from Lismore, two from Byron, and one from Ballina.
Kyogle Shire Councillor Chris Simpson, who was elected last year on a platform of opposing E zones, said the review had not been well-publicised.
"There's only one ad in each of the local papers. When you're dealing with peoples' properties and the community that's not enough," Cr Simpson said.
"I hope it's not a punitive consultation and that our opinions are actually heard."
Kyogle's consultation day with the review consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff was held yesterday.
Byron Shire Deputy Mayor Diane Woods said that confusion of the E zones and overlays was rife among the farming community, with some areas dominated by camphor laurel and lantana classified as environmentally sensitive.
"An LEP is our main planning document. This is the document that we're going to use for the next 30 years and it's incumbent upon us to get it right."
E ZONE CONSULTATIONS:
TIMES: 11am-2pm and 4pm-7pm.
Lismore: Today, Lismore Workers Sports Club.
Ballina: Wednesday, Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre.
Byron Bay: Thursday, Mullumbimby Civic Hall.