STATE Attorney-General Robert Clark has approved permanent planning controls along the Ninety Mile Beach between Glomar Beach and Golden Beach.
The minister approved Amendment C71 to the Wellington Planning Scheme, which puts in place permanent planning controls prohibiting development along the Ninety Mile Beach between Glomar Beach and Golden Beach, apart from some limited development on larger lots at Glomar Beach.
Following an independent planning panel review, Wellington Shire Council adopted Amendment C71 in March and now the State Government has endorsed that decision. Normally such a decision would be made by the planning minister, but Matthew Guy had excluded himself as he owns a holiday house at Golden Beach and handed it to the attorney-general.
Wellington Shire mayor Scott Rossetti said the attorney-general’s approval brought a conclusion to a consistent planning process which commenced in the late 1970s.
“Following years of uncertainty, we can finally provide land owners with a resolution, with the full support of the State Government.
“Whilst we recognise it is not the conclusion which all land owners hoped for, we can be certain in the knowledge that our iconic, environmentally sensitive coastline is protected for our future generations.
“The planning process has gradually minimised, and in more recent times, prohibited development in order to protect this stretch of the Ninety Mile Beach, which, soon after subdivision, was acknowledged as being incapable of supporting development.
“Council is pleased that the approval of the amendment ensures that the ecological and landscape values and the fragile nature of the dunes and lakes environment are now permanently protected.
“In recognition of the fact that the land cannot be developed, we are providing affected land owners with the opportunity to voluntarily transfer their land to Council for an assistance payment, less any outstanding rates and charges.
“Transferring their lots allows landowners to finally resolve this long running issue, to find closure and to finally move on.
“So far, more than 580 lots have been transferred to council since the voluntary assistance scheme commenced in January 2012. This adds to more than 1000 lots already in council ownership and equals nearly half of the land in the affected between settlements area.
“We have already made assistance payments totalling more than $2 million to landowners. We continue to invite owners of land between Golden Beach and Glomar Beach to submit expressions of interest to participate, remembering that assistance payments are only available for as long as funding allows.”
Owners of land in this area have been sent further reminders that the voluntary scheme is still open. Council does not have current postal addresses for several hundred land owners so people who own land in this area who have not received a letter are encouraged to phone council on 1300 366 244 to discuss the available options.