Wildlife corridors rejected again
SUPPORTERS of Coffs Harbour's proposed landscape corridors have once again failed to persuade a majority of Coffs Harbour City councillors to acknowledge wildlife linkages on city maps.
Persuasive speeches from deputy mayor Sally Townley and Cr Rodney Degens failed to sway most of their colleagues, with just Cr Bob Palmer supporting a move to rescind the May 28 decision to merely "note" the Landscape Corridors of the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area Report and not consider them under the adopted biodiversity action strategy.
Cr Townley also tabled a 400-signature petition asking the council to reconsider its opposition.
The public gallery was once again packed with vocal supporters and opponents of the wildlife corridors, with corridor supporters adding gum tree branches as well as signs.
Supporters of the mapped corridors say leaving them out of the city's biodiversity mapping process will mean sacrificing millions of dollars in environmental grant funding from the state and federal governments as well as fragmenting the picture of the city's terrestrial biodiversity assets.
But opponents remain convinced mapping of the corridors across agricultural land will hinder their plans in the future, whether for expansion of plantations and horticulture or construction of farm buildings.
The proposal by Crs Degens and Townley to limit the use of corridor maps to guiding voluntary environmental investment did not reassure this group.
The director of sustainable communities, Chris Chapman, was quizzed extensively by the councillors.
Mr Chapman conceded the May 28 motion contained some ambiguity, but would not be drawn to speculate on any future effect on grant funding.