After a long campaign to ensure adequate community consultation on the Blue Mountains draft Local Environmental Plan, including a community petition and meetings with state MPs, the Blue Mountains Conservation Society has welcomed the announcement of public exhibition of the draft plan.
Society spokeswoman, Sue Morrison, said: “Obviously the timing just before Christmas is less than ideal, both for residents and council staff, but we are pleased the planning department allowed an extended period of 13 weeks for public comment.”
Members of the society will be analysing the draft plan over coming weeks and providing extensive information to the community about any environmental issues arising from the plan.
Society president, Peter Ridgeway, said: “It is encouraging to see that council was successful in retaining many of the strong environmental protection measures in the current award-winning LEPs.
He said the inclusion of maps showing significant vegetation communities, and a related schedule aimed at identifying unmapped areas is a major win for protection of unique vegetation communities outside the existing world heritage area.
The draft plan also retains important stormwater protection controls essential for minimising impacts on the adjoining Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
Ms Morrison said the society was putting considerable effort into making sure the community had all the information it needed to provide informed comment on environmental protection measures in the draft plan.
“Although the planning department has signed off on the current draft plan for public comment, there is always the risk that important environmental protection measures may be watered down.”
The society will produce information leaflets for distribution via market stalls and street stalls in key locations from late January through to the end of public exhibition in early March.
“We will also keep residents up-to-date with any issues arising from our analysis of the plan via our website, Facebook page and email bulletins,” Ms Morrison said.
A downloadable user’s guide on how to find what you want in the draft LEP is already available on the Blue Mountains Conservation Society’s website at www.bluemountains.org.au. She said an overview of key environmental issues will be available on the website soon.
Interested Blue Mountains residents can sign up for email bulletins via firstname.lastname@example.org.