AS MANY as 1200 Bass Coast properties in low-lying coastal areas are set to be subjected to tight planning controls after new flooding and inundation data was obtained. The Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO), which is set to be discussed at tomorrow’s council meeting, will affect coastal areas from Jam Jerrup to Corinella, land surrounding Bass River, Newhaven, Cowes and Silverleaves, land surrounding Powlett River, Inverloch and Mahers Landing.
The controls will make it tougher to develop new subdivisions in the affected areas. In particular, it will introduce a permit requirement (where it does not currently exist) for:
– Land use intensification
– Buildings and works
The council’s Planning and Environment director Hannah Duncan-Jones said the overlay will provide a permit trigger for developments that may affect, or be affected by flooding and or predicted coastal inundation. “Applying the overlay will ensure that council will be provided with an opportunity to consider development applications in areas where a risk of inundation has been identified. “It will also provide an opportunity for Melbourne Water and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority to provide advice and recommendations to council as a referral authority. “Given that Bass Coast Shire Council currently is in receipt of mapping that outlines the extent of the flooding across the municipality, it would be an unacceptable risk to not attempt to apply a planning control that would address this,” Ms Duncan-Jones said.
The maps have been produced by the council’s Geographic Information Systems team using data provided by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Melbourne Water and the former Department of Sustainability and Environment. Ms Duncan-Jones said it was important to make the document public as soon as possible. “The amendment is being progressed to address issues associated with riverine flooding and coastal inundation effects from predicted sea level rise. “Bass Coast Shire Council has a duty of care to ensure that current riverine flooding and sea level rise information is available to the community. “The amendment seeks to apply the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay to areas throughout Bass Coast Shire that have been identified as affected by riverine flooding and/or coastal inundation. “Inclusion of this information in the planning scheme allows landowners and developers immediate access to the necessary information about riverine flooding and sea level rise in the early stages of the development process.” Ms Duncan-Jones said the application of the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay will ensure that new development is designed with flood risk in mind. “Given that the mapping is readily available, applying the appropriate planning controls will ensure that the council is making informed decisions at the planning permit stage based on the best available information. “This in turn will ensure that council and ratepayers are protected against the financial and social impacts, as well as liability of planning decisions that do not take flood risk into account.”
Ms Duncan-Jones said the Land Subject to Inundation Overlay is already applied to areas around Powlett River and Pioneer Bay and can be applied to land in either rural or urban areas which are subject to inundation. “A consistent message that council needs to address the impacts of climate change is coming from many directions. “The State Planning Policy Framework specifies that council must plan for predicted sea level rise. “The Victorian Administrative Tribunal has determined that the effects of climate change are relevant consideration for assessment of planning permit applications. “This is important for protection of life and property, as well as protecting council from future liability issues. “Whilst it is impossible to predict the extent and scope of future legal liability for the effects of climate change, the most likely causes of action against local government will be nuisance and negligence claims. “It is important to note that the proposed amendment will not necessary preclude development. “It will merely provide the necessary planning controls for new developments to ensure that council is making considered and fully informed planning decisions. “It may also provide opportunities for better design outcomes that are responsive to riverine flooding or coastal inundation impacts. “Through careful planning and application of appropriate controls, flood risks to life, property, infrastructure and the environment can be avoided or minimised.”