Georges River planning panel recommends retention of Foreshore Scenic Protection Area

Community groups feared that Georges River ridge-top vegetation (lefthand side) could be lost to dual occupancy development under a proposed reduction of the foreshore protection area in the former Hurstville local government area.
Community groups feared that Georges River ridge-top vegetation (lefthand side) could be lost to dual occupancy development under a proposed reduction of the foreshore protection area in the former Hurstville local government area.

Community groups have had a major win with the Georges River Local Planning Panel supporting their calls to maintain the existing Foreshore Scenic Protection Area in Hurstville and expansion of the area into Kogarah.

Residents had serious concerns over proposed changes to foreshore controls contained in Georges River Council's draft Local Environmental Plan 2020.

The draft LEP 2020 proposed to expand the Foreshore Protection Area (FSPA) into the former Kogarah LGA adding approximately 1,297 lots.

But it also proposed to reduce the existing FSPA in the former Hurstville LGA removing approximately 2,380 lots.

A postcard of species in Oatley and surrounds that will continue to be protected by leafy natural foreshores. Picture; David Mercer

A postcard of species in Oatley and surrounds that will continue to be protected by leafy natural foreshores. Picture; David Mercer

Residents feared the changes would lead to a chainsaw massacre on the up-slopes and ridges of properties along Georges River in the former Hurstville LGA, increased housing density, a loss of trees and biodiversity and threaten water quality with pollution run-off.

The planning panel listened to their concerns and recommended retention of the existing Foreshore Scenic Protection Area as identified in the Hurstville LEP 2012.

The panel also supported the extension of the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area into the former Kogarah local government area.

And it recommended changes to landscaped areas in certain residential and environmental protection zones to increase the minimum landscaped area requirements for dual occupancies in Foreshore Scenic Protection Areas to 30 per cent to ensure new developments have increased planting and vegetation.

"It's an amazing community win," Georges River Environmental Alliance secretary Dr Sharyn Cullis said.

She has written to Oatley MP Mark Coure thanking him for supporting residents' concerns over the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area and requesting him to make approaches to the Department of Planning Infrastructure and the Environment and the responsible Minister to ensure that the amendments suggested by the Local Planning Panel become part of the plan.

"It isn't over until it's over," Dr Cullis said.

She has also written to the Department of Planning urging them to ensure the panel's recommendations are incorporated into the final drafting of the LEP legal instrument.

"The Georges River LEP attracted a great deal of community interest, with a diverse range of points for controversy. However, the overwhelming flashpoint was the proposal of council to remove more than 2,300 properties from the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area from Oatley to Lugarno," Dr Cullis said..

"Not only did it generate more than 400 unique and individual objections, but it also was the dominant theme of the verbal presentations to the Panel."

In its resolution, the panel recommended the council further definite the role, mapped extent and zoning of Foreshore Scenic Protection Areas in both the former Hurstivlle and Kogarah Local Government areas having regard to those properties and bridge lines visible to and from the Georges River and its tributaries.

"This may include the consideration of additional environmental protection zones or modifications of the Foreshore Scenic Protection Area," the panel stated.

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