Key role for Byron councilByron counci

Key role for Byron council Byron Council will play a key role in the development of State Government-instigated Northern Rivers planning reforms. Mayor Cr Jan Barham, has been appointed to the Planning Reform Implementation Committee which will oversee the development of a new Northern Rivers regional strategy. Cr Barham had sought a meeting with the Planning Department's Director General, Jennifer Westacott after the State Government announced new planning reforms in September. A meeting was held in October with regional mayors and general managers and a Department of Infrastructure Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) team, including officials from Sydney to discuss the development of a regional plan and the new reforms that include a state wide template for Local Environmental Plans (LEPs). Ms Westacott also met with Byron Shire councillors and staff to identify major issues regarding the development of a new LEP.

The urgent need for planning controls for the Byron Bay and Suffolk Park area was highlighted as well as problems associated with coastal erosion. The council has now resolved to prepare a new LEP in line with the State reforms and will receive some financial and technical assistance from the Government. Cr Barham said the Far North Coast had been identified as a priority area for establishing a new plan that would build on the work done from 1995 to 2002 on the Northern Rivers Regional Strategy. She said a meeting was held last week with mayors and general managers where DIPNR staff presented a constraints mapping format that would be used for the region. Councils were also invited to present priority local and regional infrastructure issues for consideration in the planning strategy. The Planning Reform Implementation Committee has terms of reference that consider the new LEP template, accreditation and certification issues in the

planning system, new developer contribution legislation and the state funding and support program. "I believe it is important to have Byron Shire's experience on the Planning Reform Implementation Committee to assist in the development of the reforms and to ensure that our particular issues are catered for in the new processes," said Cr Barham. "The pressures of development in Byron Shire have raised many issues that need to be considered in the new planning process. "We have had valuable experience in environmental management, coastal erosion and legal challenges and have already identified planning inconsistencies that need revision. "The key theme of the reforms is to develop sustainable strategic planning. "I will ensure that Byron Shire has input to this process to enable us to move forward quickly with the preparation and implementation of a new LEP for the shire.

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