Two Bass Coast farmers, Ian Hitchings from Wonthaggi and David Trigg from Woodleigh, were a few of the 17 parties speaking to submissions at last week’s Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO, otherwise known as Amendment C82) panel hearing. G014114
LANDOWNERS potentially affected by Bass Coast Shire Council’s controversial flood overlay may need to wait until early next year to find out whether the planning scheme amendment is implemented.
At the conclusion of a four-day panel hearing in Wonthaggi last week, Planning Panels Victoria senior panel member and chair of the hearing, Trevor McCollough, confirmed a report with final recommendations would be completed and delivered to the council in six weeks.
That, however, is cutting it close to council’s final regular meeting of the year (December 10) – the last chance for councillors to consider a new report and make a firm decision.
The Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (LSIO, otherwise known as Amendment C82) has been heavily criticised since it was first announced earlier this year.
Those affected would be subjected to tighter planning controls.
The panel hearing last week heard from 17 submitters in total, including a legal representative for 69 parties from Silverleaves.
West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Melbourne Water and Bass Coast Shire Council opened the hearing with their submission, calling on expert evidence.
Following a council decision last July, the shire recommended as many as 320 properties should be removed from the original total of 1940 properties included in the overlay.
Council’s acting general manager sustainable development and growth, Jodi Kennedy, said mapping changes had been applied, finding the risk of coastal inundation to the 320 properties removed to be minimal.
She made clear, however, that no decision had been made and all submitters, including the 140 who made submissions during the original exhibition period, would be advised of the outcome of the amendment when a decision is made in December or January.
Speaking about the council’s submission in general, Ms Kennedy maintained that council is aiming to “implement State Government policy using the best available data”.
“The purpose of the process is to really test the data and see if the mapping is right,” she said.
“It demonstrates we’ve listened to submissions.”
Len and Des McRae, owners of a farming property in Wattle Bank, were pleased with how their time at the hearing went.
After arguing that their land, which had been included in the original mapping exhibited for access reasons, should be removed from the proposed overlay, the McRaes saw their wish added to the council’s final recommendations.
“They did a good job listening to us,” the pair said.
“We knew it was a mapping anomaly and we proved it.”
As detailed at a July council meeting, many of the submissions to the amendment argued that council was planning for an unreasonable sea level rise.
At the panel hearing, council’s legal representative, Tamara Brezzi from Norton Rose Fulbright, re-confirmed the shire is planning for a 0.8m rise by 2100.
Ms Brezzi said that if the council waited and did nothing, it would be ignoring state policy and direction given to the council.