Friends of Nillumbik submission to C101 Amendment

Fri 29 January, 2016

Friends of Nillumbik Inc.
P.O. Box 258 Eltham 3095

Strategic and Economic Planning,                        
Nillumbik Shire Council,
Civic Centre,

18th Jan. 2016

Submission on proposed Amendment C101 (ESO’s)

To Whom it May Concern

Friends of Nillumbik Inc. supports council’s proposed Amendment C101 which will introduce new ESO overlays into the Planning Scheme (ESO1, 2, 3 and 4).

We recognise there was a compelling case for reviewing the accuracy and application of the current ESO’s which were based on the 17 year old NEROC report.  While that key study  played a significant role in protecting the shire’s habitats, we accept that some habitat values have been lost to urbanisation in the intervening years (as predicted by NEROC) and planning decisions based on ESO compliance need credibility at VCAT when tested – also (among other things) some state and regional policies have changed in the interim.

We understand the need to define the various types of habitat (Core, Buffer and Urban) accurately as to their varying biodiversity significance so that the overlay reflects reality.  In the words of the consultants, this will achieve greater transparency in the delineation of ESO’s.

As reported, while 2,308 hectares of land will be removed from ESO1, an additional 6,610 hectares will be included, which adds up to a significant net increase of protected habitat across our rural areas.  The new Waterway ESO4 will also bring a very significant net increase in the number of properties where waterway habitat will be protected.

We are concerned about the removal of protection for the vegetation on low density land abutting the south side of the Diamond Creek Road “Windy Mile” on the Urban Growth Boundary.  While its habitat value may be questionable, its value in the landscape is important and it should at least have SLO protection.

It was reassuring to have the detailed reports from Ecology Australia and Abzeco available for examination, ensuring transparency of process.  
We congratulate council officers for the thorough work which went into the amendment.

Yours etc,

Friends of Nillumbik