Coast guidelines ‘fit well’

New State Government coastal planning guidelines, including relocating homes at risk, ‘fit well’ alongside Byron Council’s existing coastal planning, according to the council’s executive manager of planning Ray Darney .

Mr Darney said the shire had been advocating and supporting a precautionary approach for development in known coastal risk areas for more than 20 years.

“The new guidelines fit well with council’s current planning approaches,” he said. “The guidelines require all proponents, including council and State agencies, to demonstrate they can manage potential coastal risks.

“Risk management includes council’s duty of care to ensure future planning does not place future costs on to the broader community.

“The guidelines support sustainable development practices that balance social, economic and environmental considerations, all known priorities for Byron Shire.”

Releasing the guidelines last week, Planning Minister Tony Kelly said it was vital to properly prepare for sea level rise to ensure homes were not built too close to hazard areas.

Among other things, he said, the guidelines urged councils to consider applications on land which could be affected by future sea level rise by 2100 against strict criteria and might include designing homes that could be relocated from risk areas.

They also urged councils to avoid intensifying land use in areas subject to coastal risks and to identify sea level rise investigation areas where coastal risk mapping was not in place.

Mr Darney said the State Government’s recognition of adaptive strategies, identifying coastal risks and informed land use planning, was a welcomed acknowledgement of the council’s current planning approach for coastal risk areas.

Area of difficulty

“The guidelines are complementary to council’s existing Development Control Plans, Local Environmental Plan and the recent council-adopted Coastal Zone Management Plan,” he said.

“The acknowledgement of design constraints, trigger and/or time-limited approvals and identification of development controls on 149 Certificates are all current Byron Shire practices.”

Mr Darney said one area of difficulty in the guidelines was measuring the impact from protection works that might be permitted under the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water draft Coastal Protection and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2010. He said the potential impacts from interim coastal protection works on neighbouring properties could make protective works problematic in some coastal areas.

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