The Lismore City Council will decide tomorrow whether to apply for a special rate to raise $500,000 to fund a biodiversity management strategy.
If approved, the BMS would provide a range of regulatory and non-regulatory tools to manage biodiversity in the local government area.
Funds raised by the special rate would be used exclusively for the implementation of the BMS, which includes building partnerships with the community and measures to protect and enhance biodiversity on public and private land in both urban and rural landscapes.
The council’s ecologist Theresa Adams said the BMS would deliver cleaner roadsides, assist landholders and community groups to manage pests and weeds, assist management of bushland and riversides on rural land, provide more opportunities for community involvement through events, workshops and field days, and provide more recreational opportunities in well-managed urban bushland reserves, such as walking tracks
Key actions include the creation of a Biodiversity Development Assessment Framework for the assessment of development applications and the Implementation of the Rural Landholder Initiative in partnership with Southern Cross University and Lismore’s agricultural community.
That program is based on creating incentives to assist and encourage landholders to manage biodiversity on their properties.
The strategy would also implement the Urban Green Corridors Plan to enhance Lismore’s urban environment by linking existing bushland and riparian areas, and provide education programs tailored to the community, schools and industry groups.
The proposed rate rise would apply to three rating categories – residential, rural residential and farmland, but would exclude businesses as they incurred a rate increase in 2013.
The rate rise would be based on the NSW Valuer General’s land values, with the average urban resident paying $25.43 per year; the average rural resident paying $31.68 per year; and the average farmland resident paying $50.63 per year.
The average cost for farmland is higher due to the higher average land value.
Staff have recommended that the councillors adopt the strategy and apply for the rate rise.