Two councillors oppose koala plan
TWO Lismore City councillors have accused council of "sleight of hand" over the proposed Koala Plan of Management.
The comprehensive draft plan aimed at sustaining the remaining koala population in the Lismore local government area was presented to councillors at last week's ordinary meeting, prompting congratulations from Mayor Jenny Dowell and a majority of councillors.
However, Crs Graham Meineke and Neil Marks believe there are "serious implications for land owners that have not been fully discussed or approved by the plan's Stakeholder Reference Group".
"The plan requires land that is improved for koala habitat to be handed over to council or the Crown as a conservation reserve, or dedicated under a conservation agreement," Cr Meineke said.
"I have been informed by three members of the Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) that these draconian measures were never discussed with the group."
Crs Meineke and Marks also criticised a paragraph in the plan that suggested the conservation principles should be applied beyond the targeted area in the south east of the LGA and across the whole area.
A motion was moved at the meeting to have the paragraph in question removed but, according to the draft minutes, there appears to be some confusion as to the outcome.
"I feel strongly that Council must not in all good conscience develop a plan in conjunction with a Reference Group and omit to discuss all of the implications of the plan with the members of the group," Cr Meineke said.
"We believe these shortcomings require that the plan must go back to the SRG for more discussion and that is why we have put in a rescission motion to stall the plan going on exhibition until its implications are fully discussed with the SRG," Crs Marks and Meineke said in a statement.
Cr Dowell said there was nothing underhanded about the process and as she understood it, all the issues were fully discussed with the reference group.
"It is possible that all members did not attend all meetings, but staff have called another meeting because we do want all members of that group to be comfortable and knowledgeable about the plan - if some aren't, then another meeting will be held," she said.
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