PEARL BEACH DELIVERS ‘COULD DO BETTER’ VERDICT ON GOSFORD
COUNCIL’S DRAFT LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL PLAN (DLEP)
More than 100 members of the Pearl Beach community attended a public meeting on Saturday 13 March, organised by the Pearl Beach Progress Association, to discuss the implications of the DLEP for the Gosford local government area and for Pearl Beach in particular. The people of Pearl Beach are justly proud of their beautiful natural environment and want to ensure that it is not eroded by inappropriate development.
Rachel Lonie – environmental manager, Community Environment Network member and local resident – gave a presentation showing the effect of the DLEP on environmental protection through zoning changes and lack of essential information. The DLEP does not identify or adequately protect high conservation native vegetation, environmentally sensitive areas, riparian and other wildlife corridor linkages.
Although Rachel praised Council for its vision in setting up the Coastal Open Space Network (COSS), she told the meeting that COSS and other publicly- owned lands acquired and managed for conservation will be zoned Public Recreation – RE1 – allowing a range of inappropriate uses. These uses have been specifically added by Gosford Council to the NSW Government’s standard template. The RE1 zoning will apply to the Pearl Beach Arboretum, the beachfront reserve area (including the dunes), the lagoon foreshore, crown land (the Mazlin farm), Paul Landa Reserve and the Pearl Beach headland where the water tank stands – all areas of high environmental sensitivity. Other councils have protected their high conservation value bushland areas with an E2 Environmental Conservation (without dwellings) zone.
The LEP confines its use of an Environmentally Sensitive – Biodiversity clause and associated maps to some areas only of the Somersby Industrial Estate, ignoring the rest of the Gosford local government area and a 2006 Department of Planning recommendation that overlays be used for this purpose. Gosford Council has up to date and detailed local scale vegetation mapping commissioned for this purpose. Most other councils have included such measures in either their draft or final LEPs.
Council has taken the view that conservation land is sufficiently protected by existing Development Control Plans or Management Plans. Rachel pointed out that an LEP will prevail over Development Control Plans or Plans of Management in the Land and Environment Court.
The meeting passed a resolution empowering the Executive Committee of the Pearl Beach Progress Association to make a submission on the DLEP to Gosford City Council on behalf of the Association.
Penny Carle, Secretary Tel: 024342 2729
Motion proposed, seconded and agreed by overwhelming majority of those present at meeting 13th March 2010 is as follows:-
This meeting of the Pearl Beach Progress Association agrees to the Executive Committee making a submission on behalf of
the Association to Gosford City Council regarding the Draft Local Environment Plan 2009 in the following terms:-
- That the Arboretum (including the wildlife corridor), the Pearl Beach Headland (where the water tank stands), the beachfront Reserve area (including the Dunes) between Agate Avenue and Amethyst Avenue and the Paul Landa Reserve, all be zoned E2 Environmental Conservation (without dwellings).
- That the Lagoon be zoned W1 natural waterway and the surrounding vegetation E2 Environmental Conservation (without dwellings).
- That proposed E2 zonings be re-zoned E3 Environmental Management (with dwelling).
- That the Steep lands for the large lots along Crystal and Tourmaline Avenue and parts of Pearl Beach Drive should have native vegetation and flooding overlays.
- That Gosford Council’s native vegetation mapping (Bell, 2009) and biodiversity overlays be available to the community and included in the LEP.
- That Council’s sea level rise mapping be included in the LEP..
- That a Biodiversity clause be included in any zones relating to native vegetation.
- That Coastal Open Space system (COSS) lands and other public bushland areas be zoned E2 Environmental Conservation without dwellings.
- That the LEP include environmentally sensitive land maps.
- The meeting empowers the Executive to make any additional comments in the submission
in keeping with the intent of the overall submission.