North Arm Cove residents seek Council clarification on new LEP

A full house at the North Arm Cove Community Centre, with many asking the same questions about zones in MidCoast Council’s Local Environmental Plan.

THE NORTH Arm Cove Community Association (NACCAI) hosted special guests from MidCoast Council at the town’s Community Centre on Saturday 18 May, amid a particularly heavy downpour.

Much consternation was afoot regarding Council’s recently announced Local Environmental Plan (LEP), which will have far-reaching consequences once eventually ratified by Council’s governing body and all relevant State Government organisations.

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Among the biggest concerns were the intricacies surrounding the zone changes from existing ‘RU2’ (Non-Urban) to ‘C4’ (Environmental Living), as well as similar phrases such as ‘Environmental Conservation’.

Dozens of North Arm Cove (NAC) residents and ratepayers in the room echoed the same concerns about illegal land use and clearing in non-urban zones, and the apparent lack of enforcement by Council and/or State Government bodies, fearing a future of shanties and shacks for the Cove.

Council representatives claimed that their enforcement resources are quite limited, which impacts the ability to patrol and sort out potentially illegal dwellings in the area.

The change of building entitlements in NAC’s paper subdivision, from 40 hectares (ha) down to five ha, was not, necessarily, a concept that many in the room found reassuring.

Most of the paper subdivision blocks that have been bought are only 300-1000 square metres in area, meaning the cost of consolidating enough into five hectares would far outweigh any profit.

“Walker Corporation, which owns the biggest land holdings in the Cove, seems to stand the most to gain,” NACCAI President Bob Reid claimed.

“Of the 31 five ha lots that current ownerships make possible, Walker can form 26, 18 of which are in sensitive biodiversity areas.”

The LEP is an attempt to consolidate the three pre-Council-merger legacy LEPs, each of which had their own zonings and definitions of what could and could not be done.

“We are happy to be here, hearing what the community has to say, this is still in community consultation, and there will be several drop-ins across the LGA,” Council representatives said.

The next closest drop-in regarding the LEP will be held at Hawks Nest Community Hall on 13 June, and the LEP’s community consultation is stated to stay open until mid-July.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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