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Community participation guides next steps for biodiversity and protection of local character


Biodiversity, local character and the scenic qualities of the Georges River area are highly valued by everyone in the community. The challenge for Georges River Council has been that they didn’t have the most effective planning controls in place to appropriately protect and enhance these values.

That will now be addressed with the adoption at the Council meeting last night of the outcomes of a significant community consultation to get the right balance between protecting what the community values and growth.

Last year Georges River Council shared with its community the challenge that our local government area is one of the few councils in Sydney without a dedicated biodiversity control in its local planning framework. 

Knowing the community was interested in being involved in the development of planning controls, especially to protect our environment, Council decided to invite community participation to help develop the next steps.

The consultation period lasted for a total of 24 weeks with a variety of options for community members to participate and 325 submissions were received. 

Four recurring themes were identified and presented to the Council. They were natural environment, density, lot size and local character.

New controls will also be introduced to protect the valued ‘green and leafy’ character of our residential suburbs, especially in areas that have strong naturalistic qualities, created by canopy trees and planting in private properties. 

Changes are proposed to the existing Foreshore Scenic Protection Area to clearly define areas of scenic and local character to ensure these will only apply to properties that have a view to and from the Georges River.

Georges River Council Mayor, Sam Elmir is most proud of the extent of community participation in the development of these proposed solutions and ways forward to implement the findings of both the Biodiversity Study and Foreshore Scenic Character Study.   

“Our aim in Georges River is striking a balance between growth and the environment. Our community has made it clear this balance is important now, and for our future, and this proposal listens and delivers for Georges River.”

Under the proposal any new development located within the existing and proposed local character area and Foreshore Scenic Protection Area will provide more landscaping enabled by a slight reduction in the building’s floor space.

Council staff will now progress an amendment to the draft planning controls, which will be reported to Council in a future meeting seeking endorsement to request a Gateway Determination from the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure for the Planning Proposal.

To watch the Georges River Council meeting discussion visit the Meetings of Council webpage or visit the Your Say page for the Help us implement the Biodiversity & Foreshore Studies project where you can learn more about the consultation.