Council biodiversity strategy to be redrafted

Councillors have asked council staff to make changes to a draft biodiversity strategy to include reference to the Coastal Open Space System before they considered adopting it.
The draft strategy came to the Central Coast Council’s June 22 meeting with a staff recommendation for adoption after it had been on public exhibition.
Only 62 submissions were received during the exhibition period, including nine from around the Peninsula.
Three were received from Umina, two from Ettalong, and one from Pearl Beach, as well as two from Hardys Bay and one from Killcare.
However, deputy mayor Cr Jane Smith said the strategy still needed amendments and clarifications, to include a theme called Protect and to expand on the Coastal Open Space System.
She asked for a history of the System, an explanation of its mechanisms including the Bonus Lot Provision, the System levy, its committee and the voluntary acquisition process.
She asked for it to outline actions related to expanding the System, protecting its lands and funding options that were independent of a reliance on biodiversity offsetting arrangements.
Cr Jane Smith said the significance of the System had to be written into the document.
It was not just branding, she said.
Cr Smith said it was a significant strategy but council still hadn’t got the processes right and councillors needed a bit more time to discuss these with council staff.
She said details such as adding a sentence addressing no net loss of biodiversity and removing an action recommending the disposal of small parcels of council-owned land, details which were in the staff recommendation, would not be lost.
Her amendments were adopted unanimously.

Central Coast Council agenda 2.9, 22 June 2020