NSW Minister for Planning Mr Rob Stokes MP and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast Mr Adam Crouch MP must stop a Central Coast Council planning proposal that could see privately-owned environmental land rezoned and cleared.
CEN’s newly-elected Chair, Mr Gary Chestnut, said he encouraged all residents that live on the Central Coast to write to Minister Stokes and Mr Crouch asking the Minister to refuse the Gateway Determination for private deferred matters lands in the former Gosford Local Government Area.
Mr Chestnut said CEN had attempted to stop former Interim Administrator Mr Dick Persson from progressing a Planning Proposal on the deferred matters land, some of which was earmarked for COSS.
“However, Mr Persson decided to ask Minister Stokes for a Gateway Determination which could result in privately-owned environmental land in the former Gosford LGA being rezoned from the highest levels of protection to much lower levels of protection,” Mr Chestnut said.
“Council’s request for a Gateway Determination on the deferred matters lands will result in 7(a) Conservation zoned land being included in zones other than E2 Environmental Conservation,” he said.
“Rather than shifting all 7(a)-conservation land to E2 and then requiring landholders to seek to rezone land when appropriate, Central Coast Council has taken an approach that is messy, environmentally risky and time consuming.
“Because Council is attempting to rezone conservation land the process could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
“During this time deferred matters lands are not fully protected under environmental legislation.
“Council is trying to apply the process used by the former Wyong Shire Council but it means if a parcel of land is zoned 7(a) Conservation, and the land contains no endangered ecological communities, it could be zoned E3 Environmental Management.
“Instead of being zoned to protect, manage and restore areas of high ecological, scientific, cultural or aesthetic values and keep permitted uses limited to eight, an E3 zoning would permit 15 different land uses including extensive agriculture.
“Under the E3 Environmental Management zoning, development applications could be submitted to Council to clear native vegetation for crop production and livestock grazing which is prohibited on land zoned E2 Environmental Conservation.
“It is not logical to treat 600 hectares of private deferred lands currently zoned 7(a) Conservation differently to around 55,000 hectares formerly zoned 7(a) which is now all zoned E2,” Mr Chestnut said.
“Council must apply a consistent set of planning rules to all deferred matters lands. If the Gateway application is not stopped the character of the 7(a) Conservation land in private ownership will change resulting in the loss of environmental value and life-sustaining biodiversity.”