Wetland threatened

By EMMA CORNFORD

THE controversial West Yamba development has attracted another group of detractors, who will lobby Planning Minster Frank Sartor to reject the Clarence Valley Council's recent changes to the proposed development.

On November 23 the Council voted to reduce the minimum lot size and environmental protection zones, which Total Environment Centre coastal campaigner Fran Kelly has labelled a 'highly inappropriate' decision.

"This decision is highly irresponsible and obviously based on the desires of developers rather than good, solid planning decisions," Ms Kelly said.

"The land is a flood storage area that drains into the highly sensitive Wooloweyah Lagoon ? a crucial seafood and fish nursery ground ... which acts as a sponge during a flood.

"People can say the floods never get that bad but who can say what will happen in a big flood? To build there will impact on the flood levels for everyone else."

She said most councillors had not thought about the possible impacts of the development.

"We are not anti-development; it's about putting developments in the right places."

But Council director of Environment and Planning Rob Donges rejected the assertion that the decision was 'irresponsible'.

"Although the minimum lot size decreased ... I don't think there will be a significant change and I don't think it will compromise the environmental stability or the area," he said.

Mr Donges said staff were preparing a draft report for the minister, which was likely to be sent by the end of the week.

"We will hopefully have that off this week and if necessary we will meet with officers from the Department," he said.

"I've got no idea how long it will take (before the submission is approved) but ... that submission will reflect the decision made by the Council at the meeting."

Ms Kelly urged anyone who was opposed to the development to write to the minister.

"You can't blame the landowners for wanting to get the most out of their land but ... this decision really is irresponsible."



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