Who Wants To Keep All Pittwater's Conservation Zones?
Cr. Korzy Motion for February 2023 Council Meeting
I've submitted a motion (see below) for the Northern Beaches Council meeting this Tuesday, February 28, and hope some of you might be able to join the meeting.
The motion reflects the discussions and motions passed at the Saving Pittwater from the Chainsaws forum earlier this month, the third, well-attended, planning forum organised by the community in the last few months.
In an unusual move, council CEO Ray Brownlee has added his own report to the end of the motion saying he does not support it - which will discourage other councillors from voting for it.
However, a strong showing of Pittwater residents in the gallery - especially with a few signs letting councillors know what we want - could help.
Staff provided councillors with a briefing last Monday night about submissions to the Draft Conservation Zones Review and there appear to be some positive changes. However, they were unable to tell us how many properties would be lost from Pittwater's Conservation Zones under their new modelling - ie to compare to the 3,613 proposed to be lost under the draft review. So unfortunately, I am still not convinced the new modelling would go far enough - which is why I submitted this motion.
Staff have committed to exhibiting all submissions on the Conservation Zones Review on the NBC Have Your Say webpage by the end of the month, but they have not committed to putting their responses or the revised modelling on public exhibition before the Draft LEP is exhibited.
If these issues are important to you, I really hope you'll come along to show councillors and council staff that retaining our environmental protections in Pittwater are important to you.
You might also like to encourage our other Pittwater and Narrabeen councillors to support the motion, in the interests of the environment and our community.
Conservation Zones Motion submitted by Councillor Miranda Korzy
That Northern Beaches Council adopts the following principles with regard to reviewing the Local Environment Plans of Pittwater, Warringah and Manly.
- Acknowledge the overall purpose of the LEP revision must be to recognise the role of Northern Beaches Council in protecting the unique environment of Sydney’s northern beaches and to adopt the highest standards of environmental protection in the existing LEP’s and not to adopt a lowest common denominator approach to environmental protection.
- Acknowledge that if adopting a single LEP results in reduced environmental protections then it would be better to retain the existing LEPs, apart from the Warringah deferred lands LEP, as current and valid legal instruments.
- Retain all Conservation Zones from the Pittwater Local Environment Plan 2014 (LEP) in the Northern Beaches Council’s single Local Environment Plan, now under development.
- Include any properties in areas with recognised biodiversity, tree canopy, biodiversity corridors, as well as hazards including bushfire, flood, coastal erosion, and landslip in Conservation Zones..
- Retain all controls on those Conservation Zones as provided in the Pittwater Development Control Plan in the new DCP, moving those that are resulting in development outside the clear intent of the Pittwater DCP into the new LEP.
- Include new controls in the LEP outlining Foreshore Scenic Protection areas and limiting excavations, removal or destruction of significant rocks and cliffs, as well as removal of building spoil from developments in Conservation Zones.
- Report back to council on heritage items proposed for the new LEP, ensuring all that exist in the current Pittwater LEP are included, and that those nominated at the time of council amalgamations in 2016 are considered.
- If these actions cannot be achieved under a single, harmonised Northern Beaches LEP, exclude the former Pittwater Council area from that LEP and update the current Pittwater LEP, as outlined in Points 4, 5, 6 and 7.
- Table a report to council on the Outcome of the Public Exhibition of the Draft Conservation Zones Review, including all submissions received with redactions as appropriate, before finalising and exhibiting the single Draft Northern Beaches Council Local Environment Plan.
The Northern Beaches community and councillors were assured by council staff that no environmental values would be sacrificed from any former council areas in the harmonisation of the Pittwater, Warringah and Manly LEPs and DCPs.
However, the Draft Conservation Zones Review proposes removing 3,613 properties from the former Pittwater Local Government Area’s Conservation Zones and making them Residential Zones, with their controls undefined. This contrasts with the loss of only one property with a Conservation Zoning from the former Warringah LGA. This scenario is in fact not harmonising zones across the new council area but aligning them with the former Warringah zonings.
Pittwater NSW MP Rob Stokes had also tried to reassure Pittwater residents about protection of its environment. In a letter to the Avalon Preservation Association of December 5, 2017, Mr Stokes discussed the introduction of Local Strategic Planning Statements. In it he said:
“The development of these statements will see councils and communities formulate the forward vision for land use in the local area - capturing and respecting the local characteristics that need to be preserved and articulating what local residents want in the future. This will include where and how any changes should occur.
These statements will be formally recognised in Legislation and reflected in councils’ Local Environment Plans and development controls. Councils will be able to tailor the statements to specify land use priorities on a ward by ward basis.”
However, the previous council chose not to utilise this process, opting instead for an LGA-wide LSPS. A ward based LSPS would have revealed the special characteristics of Pittwater and all other wards, and the differences between them. We can see the result of this in the Draft Conservation Zones Review, in which consultants have failed to recognise the importance of, for example, wildlife corridors and tree canopy. This has a major impact in Pittwater - but also across the entire LGA.
Further, the previous council made the decision to adopt one LEP across the LGA without any explicit discussion about the reasons for this or necessity to do so. At the November 27, 2018 meeting, councillors voted to accept the Local Environment Plan Review and one LSPS.
However, the report from staff did not mention the fact that there is no legislation that requires one LEP or any ministerial directive to that effect either. This issue was never placed before councillors or the community, and we were told that the state government required us to introduce one LEP.
If we are to have one LEP, it should aim for the highest standards of environmental protection possible, as was reflected in the former Pittwater LEP and DCP. Northern Beaches Council has a special responsibility now as the custodian of Pittwater's precious bushland, beaches and villages, and the community expects this to be demonstrated in the way planning for Pittwater is carried out. The enormous response to the Draft Conservation Zones Review from concerned Pittwater residents, who provided 60 per cent of the 935 submissions, bears this out. This motion aims to do everything possible to retain and enhance environmental protections of the former Pittwater LGA.
[LSPS; Local Strategic Planning Statement ]