Greens MP David Shoebridge has described a MidCoast Council decision to harmonise tree and vegetation controls across region by removing previous protections in the Great Lakes appalling.
He questioned the decision to amend the Great Lakes Development Control Plan (GLDCP) and advised council should not have moved forward without public consultation.
“Before they can make such a decision the council is required to undertake at least 28 days of public consultation with a draft set of the changed planning controls on public exhibition,” Mr Shoebridge said.
“Trees in our urban areas provide essential amenity to local residents, but they also provide critical habitat for native wildlife including local koala and squirrel glider populations. As a Greens MP I know that local residents value their trees far more than their council.”
A spokesperson from MidCoast Council said consideration was given to the harmonisation of the tree and vegetation controls across the local government area (LGA).
“At this point in time there are tree protection controls in part of the Great Lakes area, and no controls across the Manning or Gloucester parts of the region,” the spokesperson said.
“Councillors voted to amend the GLDCP to remove all tree and vegetation controls, and also moved to hold a workshop to discuss the introduction of a significant tree register or other mechanisms to protect significant vegetation in the region. Any change to the GLDCP has to be undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, which requires public notification, at which point members of the community will have the opportunity to have input.”
Members of the Great Lakes community weighed in on the issue, taking part in a discussion on the Great Lakes Advocate Facebook page. Gavin Maberly-Smith posted: “Let’s remember this is mostly about trees in yards not large areas of forest.”
Andy Keir wrote: “A change to a more realistic scheme doesn't suddenly turn people into environmental vandals. The vast majority of people can be trusted to be sensible and to do the right thing.”