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North Arm Cove residents are asking for clarification from Council on the new LEP

A packed 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 center on Saturday, May 18, amid a particularly heavy downpour.

There has been much consternation over the Council’s recently announced Local Environment Plan (LEP), which will have far-reaching implications once it is ultimately ratified by the Council’s governing body and all relevant government organisations.

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One of the biggest concerns was the intricacies surrounding the zone changes from the existing ‘RU2’ (non-urban) to ‘C4’ (environmental life), as well as similar phrases such as ‘environmental conservation’.

Dozens of North Arm Cove (NAC) residents and taxpayers in the audience raised similar concerns about illegal land use and development in non-metropolitan areas, and the apparent lack of enforcement by Council and/or State Government agencies, fearing for a future of shanties. and cabins in front of the Cove.

Council representatives claimed that their enforcement resources are quite limited, which affects the ability to patrol the area and detect potentially illegal properties.

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

Most paper subdivision blocks purchased are only 300 to 1,000 square feet in area, meaning the cost of packing enough blocks into five acres would far outweigh any potential profit.

“Walker Corporation, which owns the largest land holdings in the Cove, appears to have the most to gain,” asserted NACCAI President Bob Reid.

“Of the 31 five-hectare plots that the current properties allow, Walker can form 26, 18 of which are in sensitive biodiversity areas.”

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

“We’re excited to be here and hear what the community has to say. This is still in consultation with the community and there will be several drop-ins across the LGA,” Council representatives said.

The next meeting related to the LEP will take place on June 13 at the Hawks Nest Community Hall, and the LEP community consultation is expected to remain open until mid-July.

By Thomas O’KEEFE