Clarence Valley Council held its monthly Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday, 25 June at Grafton Council Chambers. Four Mayoral Minutes and a Notice of Motion were discussed and followed by four of 19 reports debated and the other 15 adopted by consent in a meeting which lasted just 72 minutes.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: DA approved for 16 units in South Grafton
Council has taken an important step towards addressing the affordable housing crisis in the region by approving a North Coast Community Housing (NCCH) proposal to build 16 units in South Grafton.
The residential development at 4-5 Bluegum Way will include eight one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units, two of which will be accessible units. All dwellings will provide affordable rental housing, managed by a registered community housing provider, for a minimum period of 15 years.
The item attracted debate, but ultimately the Officer’s Recommendation moved by Cr Karen Toms was upheld 5-2.Cr Toms was passionate in her support.
“We’re talking about providing 16 more roofs over the heads of people who are disadvantaged in our community,” Cr Toms said.
“We desperately need more houses in the Clarence Valley. We have many homeless people.”
Cr Toms pleaded with her fellow councillors to support the development despite non-compliances to the Development Control Plan (DCP).
“Our professional planning staff have accepted that this is a good thing for our community,” Cr Toms said.
“The DCP should be flexible; it’s not strict like the LEP (Local Environment Plan),and the applicant has justified the need for the variations to develop the area on the site.
“The government has provided $1 million (to assist NCCH), and we’re being asked to make some small variations to the DCP. We need to get more affordable houses and we should be congratulating North Coast Community Housing for doing this work.”
Cr Peter Johnstone and Cr Allison Whaites declared a pecuniary interest and were not present in the chamber.
Financial assistance to offset increased water consumption
Property owners who have experienced increased water consumption while cleaning their properties following the February/March 2022 floods will be eligible for a rebate of up to $65 on their water consumption account.
The amended motion added Ulmarra to the villages that will receive the rebate, which includes Brushgrove, Chatsworth, Harwood, Palmers Island, Southgate, and between Grafton Street and the river in Lawrence. Rebates will automatically appear on the next Water Notice and residents in these areas are not required to apply.
Those in other areas who have been affected will need to submit an application form accompanied by photographic evidence or a statutory declaration.
CLARENCE 2032: Community Strategic Plan adopted
Clarence Valley Council adopted its Community Strategic Plan (CSP), the Clarence 2032.
The CSP is the highest level of strategic planning undertaken by the Council and is revised at the start of each new Council term.
The plan outlines the priorities of the community based around five themes: society, infrastructure, economy, environment and leadership. It has been prepared based on extensive community and stakeholder engagement since late 2020 for the incoming Council of December 2021.
Cr Stephen Pickering moved to adopt the officer’s recommendation and took the opportunity to thank those involved in the process.
“I acknowledge all the work the community, councillors and council staff have put into creating this document,” Cr Pickering said.
During the exhibition period Councillors, Council’s Executive and other staff held 11 drop-in sessions in nine towns and villages across the Clarence Valley (including Iluka Library pictured below) to meet community members and discuss the draft CSP.
Call for Biodiversity Advisory Committee nominations
Council is calling for expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced people to join the newly formed Biodiversity Advisory Committee.
The Terms of Reference for the Committee are:
Collaborate to guide implementation of Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy and provide input into strategy, policy and programs relevant to the Clarence Valley’s biodiversity;
Promote Council’s biodiversity management activities and Committee activity to agency networks and the wider community;
Contribute to community education and raising awareness of biodiversity and management within the Clarence Valley.
At the February meeting Cr Greg Clancy was appointed chair of the committee and Cr Peter Johnstone as the alternate.
Nominations are open from Friday 27 May until Friday 10 June.