Have your say on rural plans

THE first phase in the development of a new rural lands strategy for Coffs Harbour goes on exhibition for community input today.

The draft rural lands strategy issues and options discussion paper was developed after consultation with rural residents and industry stakeholders.

It was adopted unanimously by councillors at last week's meeting and follows recent workshops held with landholders in Coramba, Woolgoolga and Bonville.

"We started from a blank sheet as we wanted to hear grassroots opinion first," said the council's section leader of local planning, Sharon Smith.

"They were very productive and the result is the current draft...paper which we now want the wider community to look at and comment on."

Rural land in the Coffs Harbour area is mainly used for farming, rural industries, tourism, rural housing and environmental protection.

In recent decades, continual pressure to change land uses and develop rural land has seen a significant shift in the way it's used, which has potential to lead to conflict and uncertainty.

The draft documents reflects key issues identified by the community including address the changing character of rural lands such as ensuring planning provisions can provide for an ageing rural population.

It also looks at regulatory framework and improved community engagement.

The draft paper also looks at issues such as the protection and conservation of areas of environmental significance, climate change, protection and conservation of natural resources and promotion of sustainable resource use.

Public exhibition will remains open until August 19.

Copies can be viewed at the council's website at www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov. au, local libraries and the council's main administration building.

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