Letters to the editor

Bega MP Andrew Constance was in town last Friday to help launch a local new venture Light 2 Light Coastal Walks by partners Paul Pincini and Tim Shepherd. Story online.
Bega MP Andrew Constance was in town last Friday to help launch a local new venture Light 2 Light Coastal Walks by partners Paul Pincini and Tim Shepherd. Story online.

Open letter to council

The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) refers to the Merimbula CBD Parking Analysis, authored by council’s Director Strategy & Business Services & dated August 19th, 2016.

The BVSRRA understands that council has acknowledged that, as at the date of the above report, council had an obligation to provide 501 off-street parking spaces in Merimbula while it presently provides only 404 spaces (this includes 60 odd car parking spaces currently on council owned land that is presently subject to an option for sale to a developer & which may well be lost to the community as a result).

Based on the above figures, the BVSRRA understands that there was a shortfall against council’s obligation of 97 off-street car spaces, at the very least.

The BVSRRA is aware of recent suggestions by council that it intends undertaking a further parking study to clarify the extent of the shortfall against its obligations to provide off-street parking however, it questions the need for any such study given the undisputed numbers contained in August, 2016 analysis.

Moreover, the BVSRRA notes that in his August, 2016 report, the Director Strategy & Business Services confirmed that council had engaged SPIIRE “to develop a CBD map of Merimbula, incorporating the Merimbula Bypass & Town Centre Masterplan. Once we have a high level structural CBD map, we will look to work with the Commercial owners & the Chamber of Commerce to develop a long term parking plan for Merimbula.”

Given that the shortfall in off-street parking in Merimbula was clearly identified over 12 months ago, & given the action initiated by council at that time to address the shortfall, the BVSRRA would appreciate council confirming what progress has been made in respect of its action plan & why it apparently believes that further studies are required to quantify the nature of the problem in Merimbula, when the entire world knows that the town is currently suffering from a shortfall of at least 240 car parking spaces?

The community would appreciate your urgent response to this inquiry.

John Richardson, BVSR&RA

Development in the shire 

I have lived in this shire since 1974 and have tried to understand why we have so little growth in population ( 12,000 in 43 years ) and why business growth is so limited. 

Farming and fishing have declined and tourism is stagnant in providing new products to meet the changing market .

We are moving more to being a low socio/ economic part of Australia with high infrastructure costs 

The control of the mechanism to change this is in the hands of our three levels of government and in particular council.

Over the last eight years two councils have created major change in the Port of Eden and in lifting the face of their town centres (work in progress). 

Very few councillors, however, understand the complex issues that are determined in the engineering section of council, and we need a progressive head of engineering services. 

No effort has been made to reform the rules by which development occurs and the overlay of state legislation that  adds to the complexities 

With the resignation of the recently appointed head shire engineer, council needs to appoint a progressive leader in this area and arm that person to review those staff who make the policies that make it difficult to achieve growth in a large coastal shire (proactive rather than reactive). 

The present general manager does not have expertise in this area and needs a progressive head of the shire’s largest department to recommend change that invites good development; and the councillors need to work as a team to achieve results and not as they have in the last 12 months of division. 

Whist the planners have received a clean bill of health recently in day to day simple DAs they cannot achieve results in major development whilst the engineers are ambivalent to development and take years to deal with what should be simple issues and have no vision to create practical and  good development in this shire 

Time to implement reform. 

Michael Britten, Merimbula 

E3 zones on private land 

Bega Valley Shire Council’s General Manager Leanne Barnes recollection of extensive consultation with the community leading up to the Local Environmental Plan 2013 seems to have been with the community that were not going to be effected by the zoning and not the land owners affected by the changes.  Council made no mention of the changes to the zoning on rural land when they sent out the Rate Notices, but when it came to the Farmland Rate Assessment on rural land they had no trouble contacting individual land owners calling on them to justify their Farm Land status in the wake of the N.S.W Governments failed Fire Levy Policy.  

Being the owner of 145.6 hectares on six titles that were zoned Rural 1a I have only just became aware that my land is now rezoned with the majority being zoned E3 and the remainder zoned RU2.  After speaking with other rural land owners it has become clear that there is a great number of these land owners were unaware that their land had been rezoned and more importantly they were unaware of the meaning of this rezoning and the impact that is was going to have on their land usage and value.  I would like to urge all rural land owners in the Bega Valley Shire to contact the council to check their current land zoning and to attend the next public meeting on the B.V.S.C Environment Zones.  Under the new zoning rural land owners might now find themselves owners of a private National Park, their land and rights taken by stealth without any notification, justification or compensation. 

It would be a good idea if our local member Andrew Constance could attend the meeting and explain this draconian policy implemented by him Government along with the new mapping by the Office of Environment and Heritage on private rural land under the titles Regulated Land, Vulnerable Regulated Land and Sensitive Regulated Land.  I would also urge Bega Valley Shire Council’s General Manager Leanne Barnes to attend so that she could explain the benefits of applying these zones on private land and also whether the council has notified the Valuer General Department that the value on these properties have been dropped because of the rezoning so that the rates can be lowered in accordance with these new values.

Wayne Doyle, Nethercote 

Where do you stand Andrew?

The Sapphire Branch of Country Labour demands to know where Andrew Constance stands on the proposed privatisation of the services currently offered by Service NSW.

These centres currently offer services around the state on: Business Services, Business and Trade, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Education and Training, Emergencies and Safety, Employment and Jobs, Environment and Water, Government, Health and Wellbeing, Housing and Property, Legal and Information and Services, Life Events, Transport, Licences, Registration and Marine.

In our region there are offices in Eden, Bega, Bombala, Cooma and Narooma. Many services are online.

At present they are a service and not offered on the cost recovery basis which means that you pay a certain amount and the rest is subsidised by the taxpayer.

The information - your private information - is held by these departments and our government stays responsible for the confidentiality of that information. Private providers can on-sell that data to other commercial entities.

The NSW Coalition government has called for tenders from seven companies for the provision of these services. One of these companies is SERCO, which has had notoriety in its management of detention centres and jails.

The NSW Liberal/National government has done this sneakily by regulation not legislation so there is little transparency and minimal scrutiny of the process.

If tendered out, these services will be sure to be provided by these private providers on a full cost recovery basis, so all prices will rise.

The Nationals members have remained silent when questioned on this process in the NSW Parliament and why there will be no debate on it.

Our member, Andrew Constance, must explain to us why he intends to sneak these increases onto us without public debate.

Colin McPherson, Tura Beach Branch Member

Legacy

Far South Legacy would like to thank the community for their generosity during our badge week fundraiser. We would also like to thank all our volunteers for the time they so generously gave.

Rosalie Kleiner, Merimbula

Berrambool Sporting Complex

Afl and Soccer matches were held at the Berrambool Sporting Complex on the 9/10th this month and sadly once again the area was littered with rubbish after the fans departed.

Of course the majority respect what the area offers for the sporting community but there others who just don’t care. 

Wayne Stinson, Merimbula