Frustration turns to community action in Shoalhaven planning review
The community group reviewing the draft Shoalhaven Local Environment Plan, has launched a community awareness campaign called ‘Our Shoalhaven’ to raise awareness within the community about what it sees as a failure of Shoalhaven City Council to listen to what the public wants from its new Local Environment Plan.
SLEP Review Group Convenor Alan Burrows said, “We have launched the ‘Our Shoalhaven’ campaign which is about giving the community a real voice in planning decisions in the Shoalhaven.
“It is just so frustrating that after months of preparing submissions and attending meetings the community seems to be being ignored by council. We’ve decided to turn that frustration around and reach out to the community with this campaign,” Mr Burrows said.
The Our Shoalhaven website will be an information resource for the community to follow the progress of the LEP through council. The community can sign up to receive our regular email newsletters and follow the campaign on facebook.
Group members feel the Shoalhaven public has been sidelined. “The preferred strategy in some quarters seems less about engaging with us, than in shutting us down,” said Keith Learn from Kangaroo Valley.
“We have consulted directly with our communities, we meet and talk regularly. Then we hear from some sources, that our views are unrepresentative, or we are verballed as supposedly anti-development.
“We hope these online tools become a great resource for the community to really see how our councillors are dealing with these important planning issues that impact our future.
Frances Bray of Culburra Beach is concerned that the majority of councillors are ignoring the purpose of the Shoalhaven Local Environment Plan to provide a vision and strategic land use framework to address the environmental, social and economic challenges that the Shoalhaven Community will face over the next 20 years.
Ms Bray said, “It is disturbing that a majority of councillors are shutting down consideration and debate of recommendations from expert staff, government departments and community representatives, contrary to their responsibilities to consider and assess issues on merit. This practice applied in particular to recommendations aimed at enhancing environment protection.”