Two-year wait for approval

THE waiting game continues for State Government approval of an amendment to Wellington Planning Scheme relating to building in areas seen as susceptible to flooding.

Wellington Shire Council passed Amendment C33 two years ago, but has been waiting on Planning Minister Matthew Guy to approve it.

The minister had ruled the amendment must be split in two, with aspects affecting Port Albert area forming a second component.

A peer review of the CSIRO report into inundation was requested before the Port Albert component of the amendment was approved. The review was been completed and was received by the Department of Planning and Community Development in February last year.

Councillor Darren McCubbin described the two-year wait for ministerial approval as “particularly disappointing”.

“This is crucial for allowing people in the Port Albert, Rosedale, McLoughlins Beach and other areas to have certainty over the flood levels for their particular town,” he said.

Once C33 is approved, any planning applications in identified flood susceptible zones would be automatically referred 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.

A spokesperson for the minister said a number of issues were currently being finalised between council, WGCMA and the Department of Planning to ensure the right controls were in place.

The information was released in an update from council’s strategic land use planning projects review group.

Previously not disclosed to the public, the information has been released to update the community on strategic issues.

Also in the update, council was working through issues relating to contributions from developers for infrastructure for residential and business developments to the north of Sale along the Princes Highway.

“We are very positive about this area. We believe it to be a key growth factor for the town and we are working as hard as we can with the developers concerned to bring this to fruition,” Cr McCubbin said.

Work is underway to prepare a planning scheme amendment to give effect to the Heyfield Structure Plan, which will provide a roadmap for future planning in the town.

The plan was adopted by council in December 2011 with consultants appointed to prepare it for it to be included in the planning scheme.

Work to implement the Rosedale Structure Plan will begin during the next financial year after work on the Heyfield plan is completed.