Bega MP Andrew Constance is confident there is enough land to deliver on the government’s regional plan that will see an additional 2350 dwellings in the Bega Valley over the next 20 years.
But Eden real estate agent Glenn Brunette is concerned Eden is running out of land to build such dwellings.
“What we will see is a particular focus around Bega, a particular focus around Merimbula and also Eden for housing opportunities,” Mr Constance said.
“We’ve just delivered a budget which is about driving housing affordability for everyone across the state.”
He said infrastructure projects like the Eden Port Development project would flow into housing, but Mr Brunette said environmental conservation zones surrounding Eden would not allow for more dwellings.
“For Eden to grow to any capacity we need to have land releases,” Mr Brunette said.
“It’s the biggest restriction we’ve got, especially as Eden is surrounded by state forests and national parks.”
Mr Constance acknowledged the constraints on building caused by Crown land and said revisiting Bega Valley Shire Council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP) was an option.
“We want to look at the opportunities and capitalise on the benefits of our environment while capitalising on growth,” Mr Constance said.
“I think one of the most restrictive things we’ve seen, particularly on the coast, has not necessarily been the availability and supply of land, but the environmental constraints as it relates to native vegetation and the offsets required to facilitate developments.
“I think ultimately if amendments are required to LEPs along the way then that’s where councils are best placed to come forward on behalf of local communities and work with the Department of Planning on that.”
Mr Constance said the government wanted to see more sub-division development as ‘Baby Boomers’ developed an appetite for more lifestyle living in shires like the Bega Valley.
The Transport and Infrastructure Minister was joined by Planning and Housing Minister Anthony Roberts at Eden Wharf on Friday, July 7 to announce the South East and Tablelands Regional Plan 2036.
Speaking to the Magnet, Mr Brunette said Eden was heading into an abyss.
“Council needs to seriously look at supply to encourage development,” he said.
“Zoning in Eden has significant problems with it, especially that E2 (environmental conservation) zoning on Crown land.”
Mr Brunette took particular aim at council’s planning and development area, saying it was stuck in a comfort zone.
“There’s a culture that demonstrates a lack of willingness to encourage development, specifically from the town planning and engineering departments,” he said.
“If Council’s planning agenda for Eden was to stymie its growth then it’s done a good job. Eden is stuck in a time warp.”
In July last year Mr Brunette joined developer Bruce Lyon, who pleaded with councillors not to sterilise 160 hectares of his land around Boydtown, much of which had been recommended to be given environmental zoning.
At the time council’s manager of planning services Keith Tull said a number of rezoning proposals didn’t get through the Department of Planning because it believed there was enough land in the shire.
“Boydtown is to Eden what Tura Beach is to Merimbula. It’s our future growth area,” Mr Brunette said.
“A massive land release over time has led to what Tura Beach is today.”
Mr Brunette voiced his concerns regarding zoning to the state ministers on Friday, as well as in writing to BVSC mayor Kristy McBain last month.
“The imminent development of Snug Cove has the potential to see Eden develop into the maritime hub of south east Australia,” he wrote to Cr Kristy McBain.
“We desperately need revised and progressive new planning to realise the potential of Eden.”