Will ecologically sensitive areas surrounding the Butler Street bypass project eventually be rezoned and developed?
It appears future councillors could explore the possibility, despite Greens mayor Simon Richardson claiming there are no plans presently to do so.
His Greens councillor block have justified the ecological destruction of the protected wetlands, in part, owing to the project only taking up a small percentage of the area.
The Echo asked Greens mayor Simon Richardson whether he was concerned that the area, known to contain highly vulnerable species, could be opened up for future development.
The Echo also asked, ‘Can Council ensure that this project will not open up the surrounding areas to development?’
The mayor replied, ‘It would be next to impossible to change an environmental zone into a commercial one unless there was no environmental value and councillors recommended exploring this. There is no current conversation, intent, view or desire, nor has there ever been within council staff or any councillor body of which I have been a part over 11 years to rezone areas in the Cumbebin swamp area for development’.
‘I have no idea of every conversation of nearly 300 [Council] staff, but I have never heard of, or learned of any conversations between staff and councillors, or between councillors, on changing any of this environmental zone to a commercial zone’.
‘The zoning is the zoning and would have to go through all the same processes to change a E-zone down to a commercial one and that is extremely difficult, nigh impossible, and that is only after a majority of councillors decided they wanted to explore it. There is no mention of it in the masterplan, there is no strategic planning reference of any kind. Anything can happen in theory, but in reality, it is a fear without substance’.