HAVE A SAY: Coffs council is developing a new strategy to manage land-use conflicts such as those associated with intensive plant agriculture.
HAVE A SAY: Coffs council is developing a new strategy to manage land-use conflicts such as those associated with intensive plant agriculture. Trevor Veale

Managing land-use conflict: have your say

TIME is running out to have your say on a new strategy to manage land-use conflicts - such as those caused by intensive plant agriculture - while preserving the distinctive character and values of our region.

Coffs Harbour City Council is reviewing and updating its Local Growth Management Strategy - a key document that guides planning for population growth over the next 20 years while protecting valuable environmental and agricultural land and neighbourhood character.

The strategy is divided into different chapters and the first one, on Rural Lands and their use, is out now for comment until February 28.

"In recent years, there have been changing expectations about the way people want to live, work and enjoy rural areas, as well as changes in our agriculture and rural tourism economies," council's director of sustainable communities Chris Chapman said.

"We have also developed a better understanding of the connection between human actions and its effect on our environment."

Mr Chapman says a more holistic strategy for all rural land uses is required.

"Council is very aware of the significant contribution that intensive plant agriculture makes to the local economy. This relatively sudden change to the local industry has reinvigorated many rural properties across the Coffs Harbour local government area."

"However, this has generated wide discussion - particularly the conflict between intensive plant agriculture farming and the wider community. We found that this was one of the most significant issues identified during preliminary public consultation already undertaken.

"The existence of many small, rural-zoned land parcels and homes dotted across the rural landscape has amplified the potential for this kind of land-use conflict."

Although some intensive plant agriculture functions such as the use of pesticides and water harvesting are regulated by various State Government authorities, there are many other potential issues and impacts that fall within council's responsibility to regulate, including: storage and use of chemicals (other than pesticides); land use and clearing; waste generation and disposal; sediment and erosion control; and visual impacts.

The Rural Lands Chapter looks at this issue in detail and suggests strategies and actions to guide rural policy and land use that is aimed at helping reduce future conflicts.

To make a submission follow this link. Written submissions can also be sent to Coffs Harbour City Council, Locked Bag 155, Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450.