Council move to further exclude community from LEP process
At Tuesday’s full meeting Shoalhaven City Council passed a motion to delegate further decisions relating to the Local Environment Plan to the Special Development Committee (SDC) of Council instead of having maters determined at a full meeting. Councillor Greg Watson moved the motion.
Our Shoalhaven spokesperson Alan Burrows said, “this decision is just another example of the disregard the majority of Shoalhaven Councillors show to the community when it comes to the Local Environment Plan review.
“The result will be that the community will have less opportunity to engage with the Council over their concerns with the LEP.
“It is also likely that a number of councillors may not be able to attend and vote on important LEP matters.
“The attendance of councillors at the SDC meetings has been poor to date. Some councilors have indicated to the community that they felt their opportunity to vote at the full Council meeting was sufficient so this decision effectively denies those Councillors a vote on LEP matters.
“Most concerning are the actions of Councillor Gareth Ward who suggested the idea of delegating decision making at the last SDC meeting but then voted against the motion at the full Council meeting knowing that the motion would succeed.
“The community is already frustrated about the way their concerns are being addressed through the LEP process, and this change to decision making will only make it worse.
“The LEP is the most important planning instrument of Council and is only reviewed every 20-30 years. Council has a responsibility to take appropriate time and care in drafting the plan but this new process will essentially fast track LEP decisions and further limit community involvement,” Mr Burrows said.
Councillors Amanda Findley, John Ferguson, Robert Proudfoot and Gareth Ward voted against the motion.