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Zoning in - or zoned out

dougkSun, 20/01/2019 - 10:39am

“Preliminary investigations indicate that some existing villages and rural living areas should not be in a rural/agricultural zone, now or in the future”

Surrounded by bush and with the waters of Port Stephens lapping at our shores, the villages of North Arm Cove, Carrington, Bundabah and Pindimar are definitely great places to live. As residents, how much do we value what we have now? What sorts of future developments are appropriate for the villages themselves and the surrounding areas?

As the vigorous response to the 2017 Quarry proposal showed, there are a great many locals who do care a lot about our local environment and lifestyle. We need to harness some of that energy again.

MidCoast Council is currently developing a Rural Strategy and is seeking your input. It is of course much much harder to get enthusiastic about the development of a policy document but, once approved, such policies can have far-reaching consequences. Before those polices are writ in stone we need to have our voices heard.

So far Council have come up with eight focus areas:

  • Land based conservation
  • Marine activities
  • Mines and quarries
  • Rural housing
  • Rural industries and agriculture
  • Rural tourism
  • Rural transport infrastructure and
  • Rural waterways

Just a few of the many matters addressed in the discussion paper are:

  • the future of paper subdivisions that surround some of our villages

There are thousands of small holdings around our villages with rate obligations but currently no development rights or services.

  • designating our villages as “rural living areas” rather than urban because the population of each village in the 2016 census was below 500.

What are the implications of this arbitrary classification when it comes to council services, development and rates? What does “Preliminary investigations indicate that some existing villages and rural living areas should not be in a rural/agricultural zone, now or in the future” actually mean?

  • identifying environmental zones and rural zones

(Perhaps because I am colour-deficient I find the maps in the discussion paper wholly uninformative!)

What can you do?

  • Have a read of the discussion document attached below.
  • Visit this web page and add your details under “Do you want to get involved?”

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