Locals will have some certainty

PORT Albert and Rosedale residents should soon know what requirements are demanded for new buildings in their towns.

Approval of an amendment to the Wellington Planning Scheme relating to potential flooding should be given soon, according to the State Government.

A spokesman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy told the Gippsland Times amendment C33 was currently being assessed following the receipt of a peer review into flood data, with progress to be made soon on its approval.

“Things are moving,” the spokesman said.

The comments come after Wellington Shire Council called on the Planning Minister to approve the amendment and make the review into flood data public as soon as possible.

Council and residents have waited almost a year for the minister to approve the C33 amendment, which makes modifications in the Wellington Planning Scheme to floodways and land subject to inundation overlays, based on updated flood information.

Council passed the amendment in April last year, but the minister ruled it must be split in two, with aspects affecting the Port Albert area forming a second amendment.

Neither of the amendments have yet been approved.

After C33 is approved, it will trigger an automatic referral of any planning applications inside the identified flood susceptible zones to the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority.

Concerns had been raised in Port Albert relating to the clash between the amendment, which would require new homes in the town to be built on stilts at least 1.5 metres above ground, and current overlays prohibiting buildings higher than its historic hotel.

The conflicting requirements mean two storey homes may not be allowed to be built.

Community concern about the accuracy of the data used to create the amendment in the first place led to the minister to demand a peer review of the CSIRO report.

The peer review has been completed and made available to the WGCMA, council and the minister.

The review found that the 100-year extreme sea level rise estimated for Port Albert was “reasonable”, although the authors would have used different approaches to the CSIRO.

Councillor Darren McCubbin said the C33 amendment would make it clear where there was a higher risk of flooding and what was required to build in those areas.

Heightening the need for C33 to be approved is council’s current of zoning around Rosedale, where some land is labelled as subject to inudation when it is not.

For more read Friday’s Gippsland Times.