Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay
Head of BRAG Rex Harris has complained in Echonetdaily (November 8) that ‘Many spokespeople debating environmental protection zones within the Draft Byron Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2012 are misinforming readers’.
I agree with him and ask his group to please stop it.
BRAG’s claim (Echo November 6) that Council has excised large areas of agricultural land to wildlife corridors is wrong. Council’s wildlife corridor (biodiversity) overlay does not affect the zoning and simply requires that when assessing any proposed new development (requiring consent) the consent authority must consider any adverse impact on flora, fauna or ecosystems. If adverse impacts cannot be avoided then enhancement works that maintain or improve the biodiversity values of the land may be required.
So if Rex Harris wants to redevelop his macadamia plantation into a housing estate he may have to undertake ameliorative actions to ensure the existing biodiversity values of his plantation are maintained in another form. Unless he wants to redevelop his land, then the wildlife corridor has no effect at all on his farming activities.
Of course wildlife corridors cover cleared land as the aim is to facilitate wildlife movements by enhancing connectivity between native vegetation remnants within identified wildlife corridors when redevelopment is proposed.
BRAG’s claim that Council is proposing that wildlife corridors ‘be considered for Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) candidature’ is a total absurdity and intentionally misleading.
BRAG’s claim that environmental zones ‘devalues properties by as much as 50 per cent’ is total scaremongering. As a landowner, with most of my property currently zoned for environmental protection, I can confidently say this is wrong as I recently had my property valued. To the contrary I believe that the vegetation on my property increases its value.