Farmers demand scrapping of landscape corridor plan
FARMERS are demanding that Coffs Harbour City Council withdraw its 2014 landscape corridors proposal.
A packed meeting of landholders at the Nana Glen hall on Monday night voted overwhelmingly in favour of withdrawing the plan, which they fear will lead to restrictions on farming activities and reduced land values.
The landscape corridors proposal is to identify and map corridors to link large areas of native habitat in order to preserve and improve the region's biodiversity.
An estimated 32% of the land proposed for the corridors is privately owned rural land.
Council planners involved with the proposal have said the mapped corridors will not affect normal rural and farming activities, but farmers see it as the thin end of a wedge that could see them lose large areas of their farms to environmental protection zones.
Those at the meeting, organised by the Coffs Harbour branch of the NSW Farmers Association, also called for Coffs Harbour City Council to assure the farming community it will be consulted before developing strategies concerning local food production and that consultation commence as soon as possible about the issues relating to the E2 zoning and the Local Environmental Plan.
The chairman of the Coffs Harbour branch of NSW Farmers, Garry Dew, said both issues were causing concern in the rural community.
"The Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan was gazetted last year and included changing all land zoned 7A to an E2 zoning," Mr Dew said.
"This was done without consultation with the farming community and we are concerned because the E2 zoning can be very restrictive for routine farm management and production."
Mr Dew said farmers were also concerned about the draft council report Landscape Corridors of the Coffs Harbour local Government Area, which is on public exhibition until December 7.
Workshops for landholders on the corridors are being held this week and next by Coffs Harbour City Council staff.