The Coffs Harbour City Council will tonight discuss a draft paper on intensive agriculture operations in the council area.
By the Editor
The draft paper, Chapter 5 of the Local Growth Management Strategy, is the result of a motion from the 9 November 2017 Council meeting that approved an Agriculture Committee of stakeholder be set up to consider the impacts of intensive plant agriculture which relates predominantly, but not solely, to the blueberry sector.
The committee reported back that the following issues were identified as potential ones to be considered;
§ pollution (air, noise, water);
§ adverse impacts on waterways (including estuaries and the marine environment);
§ spray drift;
§ high water use;
§ storage of hazardous chemicals;
§ visual impacts (netting);
§ illegal clearing of native vegetation;
§ lack of employee facilities;
§ lack of accommodation for seasonal workforce;
§ increased and unmanaged traffic movements and parking; and
§ adverse impacts on ‘rural living’.
One measure that may be considered to alleviate these concerns may be to require new intensive agriculture operations to obtain development consent, or require a formal a DA process, for intensive plant agriculture operations in rural landscape zones.
Planing Departments in both the neighbouring Nambucca and Bellingen Councils are also reported to be recommending such measures for intensive plant agriculture too.
Tonight Council will be asked to seek endorsement to publicly exhibit the Intensive Plant Agriculture Discussion Paper in conjunction with the Intensive Plant Agriculture Land Use Overview Table. Council’s endorsement to simultaneously re-exhibit draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands so that the documents can be read in context with each other is also sought.
The Discussion Paper seeks community and stakeholder feedback on feasible mitigation measures that could assist in lessening impacts associated with the Intensive Plant Agriculture land use, and so that the industry can continue sustainably in the Local Government Area.
It is important at this stage of the process that all of the issues are conveyed and discussed with the community and rural land stakeholders prior to the adoption of a final rural lands chapter to sit within the updated Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy.