The article re Bailey v Bass Coast Shire Council on the farming zone issue (‘How the shire dropped the ball on planning’, Sentinel-Times, 30/12/14, p7) raises some interesting questions:
What was the cost to us ratepayers for this VCAT appearance?
Some figures bandied about include one of in excess of $30,000 this seems quite realistic when you take into account a barrister and BCSC staff who attended; what “net community benefit” is this to us the ratepayer?
This would seem excessive considering the basis for the challenge “the draft rural land use strategy” has yet to be implemented and is against the State Government’s current requirements.
From my discussions with local farmers they are certainly not in favour of increasing the subdivision requirement to 80 hectares.
Therefore the BCSC needs to re-open the discussion on this subject to ensure they have the support of the majority of the ratepayers in the shire.
Not forming their decision on the reports by the consultants, who when asked at the workshop I attended if they had visited any of the rural settlements to obtain a better understanding of the landscape and environment, both stated no, this is our first visit to the area and did not have any plans for future visits!
How can this lack of basic consulting practices help them decide what is best for our shire and its ratepayers?
David Blum, Glen Forbes