Plans to identify natural assets
LISMORE is located in the third-most biodiverse region in Australia, yet there has never been an audit of this precious environmental and economic asset, says Lismore council’s integrated planning manager Steve Denize.
However, this is about to change thanks to a $120,000 biodiversity management strategy the council is developing over the next two years.
It will cost a further $120,000 to implementover the following two years.
“What (the first stage) we’ll be doing is making a thorough examination of Lismore’s ecological assets,” Mr Denize said.
He said it would not be an ‘albatross’ around the council’s neck but anaudit of the region’s ecological assets.
“As we move forward into a century when branding and sustainability matter to consumers, if we know our ecological asset well, it is a basis for successful branding (for tourism),” Mr Denize said.
However coming hot on the heals of the controversial draft LEP, the new biodiversity strategy is expected to spark much debate, if for no other reasons than it may lead to amendments to the LEP.
“There is no question that in the context of what council has gone through recently, this will be a complex and challenging document,” Mr Denize told councillors at a workshop last week.
He said the strategy would be developed using the council’s new public consultation procedures that had not been developed when the LEP was drafted.
“We are going to engage in a conversation with all stakeholder groups prior to developing policy,” Mr Denize said.
“Put in plain English, this will not be a stitch-up. We will be going to allstakeholders so people will not be blindsided by this policy.”
He said ‘stakeholder groups’ whose members will be publicly nominated and represent agricultural, developers and environmental groups, would meet regularly.
A discussion paper will be released in September with a draft released for public comment in February 2012.
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