Landholders win lobby on landscape corridors

COFFS Harbour will not adopt landscape habitat corridors, after the city's rural rump showed it is a force to be reckoned with this week.

Landholder interests won a long-running lobbying war over the plan at Thursday's council meeting.

Cr John Arkan and Cr Keith Rhoades spearheaded the move to derail adoption of the corridors, intended to provide links between remaining areas of natural habitat.

Identifying and mapping habitat corridors throughout the Coffs Harbour local government area is a process designed to protect biodiversity by encouraging the movement of native plants and animals, especially between coastal areas and the mountains and tablelands.

Formal identification of the corridors has been consistently opposed by a vocal section of the farming community, who fear the 'lines on the map' will in future become exclusion zones for planning purposes, which will prevent normal farming activities and development.

The issue was one of two on the agenda which saw a packed 'standing room only' public gallery for Thursday's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.

Councillors voted to merely 'note' the Landscape Corridors of the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area final report and the Coffs Harbour landscape corridors digital (mapping) layer and then proceed to preparing a composite terrestrial biodiversity assets and ecological significance layer as the next step in the council's adopted biodiversity action strategy, without the landscape corridors.

Biodiversity officer Nigel Cotsell said this meant in terms of identifying all the important bits in the local government area, the corridors would be excluded.

"The corridors are the glue that holds the bits together," Mr Cotsell said.

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