Coffs Harbour City Council

18 March 2020

 

Ordinary Council Meeting

 

The above meeting will be held in the Council Administration Building

Cnr Coff and Castle Streets, Coffs Harbour on:

 

Thursday, 26 March 2020

 

The meeting commences at 5.00pm and your attendance is requested.

 

 

AGENDA

 

1.         Opening of Ordinary Meeting

2.         Acknowledgment of Country

3.         Public Forum

4.         Disclosure of Interest

5.         Apologies

6.         Leaves of Absence

7.         Mayoral Minute

8.         Confirmation of Minutes

9.         Rescission Motion

10.      Notices of Motion – General

11.      General Manager’s Reports

12.      Notices of Motion – Business Services

13.      Directorate Reports – Business Services

14.      Notices of Motion – Sustainable Communities

15.      Directorate Reports – Sustainable Communities

16.      Notices of Motion – Sustainable Infrastructure

17.      Directorate Reports – Sustainable Infrastructure

18.      Questions On Notice

19.      Matters of an Urgent Nature

20.      Consideration of Confidential Items (if any)

21.      Close of Ordinary Meeting

 

 

Steve McGrath

General Manager

 

 


Order of Business

 

  

General Manager's Reports

GM20/08         Federal Government Financial Support for Bushfire Affected Communities............................................................................................................ 3

Directorate Reports - Business Services

BS20/22          Bank and Investment Balances for February 2020............................. 20

BS20/23          Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 31 January 2020.......................................................................................................... 41

BS20/24          Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 29 February 2020....................................................................................................... 57

Notices of Motion Sustainable Communities

NOM20/03      Moonee Beach Estate - Access and Funding.......................................... 73

Directorate Reports - Sustainable Communities

SC20/12          Review of Council's Fees and Charges for Proponent-Initiated Planning Proposals.......................................................................................... 74

SC20/13          Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands Post Exhibition.......................................................................... 79

SC20/14          Draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands...................................................................... 145

SC20/15          Draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement....... 356

Notices of Motion Sustainable Infrastructure

NOM20/04      Coastal Works Governance Framework.............................................. 414   


GM20/08      Federal Government Financial Support for Bushfire Affected Communities

Author:                        Section Leader Community Planning & Performance

Authoriser:                  General Manager

MyCoffs:                      D.2 We have effective use of public resources.

Attachments:              ATT1  GM20/08  Prime Ministers Announcement

ATT2  GM20/08  Ministerial Letter from Scott Morrison - Financial Commitment for National Bushfire Recovery

ATT3  GM20/08  OLG Correspondence - Additional Bushfire Recovery Funding

ATT4  GM20/08  CONFIDENTIAL Submissions

Confidential in accordance with Section 10A(2)(e) of the Local Government Act as it contains information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law.  

 

Executive Summary

On 9 January 2020, the Federal Government announced National Disaster Recovery Funding of $1 million for each of 42 local government areas impacted by bushfires. Subsequently, a community meeting was held at Nana Glen on 28 January 2020 to engage with community members impacted by the bushfires.

Council resolved on 13 February 2020 to undertake an interim Program of Works totalling $416,784 and to further engage with the affected community prior to adopting a final Program of Works.

A further $300,000 was announced as Phase 2 of this funding, along with NSW State Government funding of $100,000 from the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund (Phase 1) for events or initiatives to support local businesses, industry recovery, and community recovery and wellbeing.

A second community meeting was held on 11 March 2020 to further engage with community members with a view to informing the final proposed Program of Works.  The outcome of that process and further recommended projects flowing from the further engagement are presented for Council’s consideration and adoption.

 

Recommendation:

That Council:

1.       Include the following projects totalling $983,216 in the final Program of Works:

1.1.    Ten Hardstand Sites for emergency water access by RFS vehicles across the local government area $250,000

1.2.    Turnaround Bays for emergency vehicles   $70,000

1.3.    Upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places    $200,000

1.4.    Environmental Recovery Program     $213,216

2.       Acknowledging that McPhersons Road is a Crown asset, allocate $250,000 for the purpose of ensuring that McPhersons Road Bridge is made capable of carrying a loaded RFS tanker of 14.5 tonne, should direct advocacy with Crown Lands prove unsuccessful.  In the event that Crown Lands agree to replace the bridge at its expense, then Council reallocate the $250,000 as an additional $100,000 for upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places and $150,000 to the Environmental Recovery Program.

3.       Continue to engage with the Orara Valley community and provide information about the progression of this Program of Works.

 

Report

Description of Item:

Bushfires hit the Coffs Harbour local government area in November 2019, predominantly in the Orara Valley locality.  The area saw the loss of 41 structures including dwellings, outbuildings and other private infrastructure, as well as experiencing a loss of trade to businesses within the Orara Valley area, as well as a drop in visitation in the lead up to the Coffs Coast Region peak tourist trade period.

 

In response to this disaster, a variety of financial assistance packages have been announced by the Commonwealth and NSW State Governments designed to provide assistance to individuals, property owners, primary producers and businesses.

 

By way of a joint media release on 9 January 2020, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development and Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management announced the provision of an initial and immediate base payment of $1 million to 42 of the most severely bushfire impacted councils in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Queensland to help quickly rebuild vital infrastructure and strengthen community resilience.  Coffs Harbour City Council was one of the 42 recipients.

 

Phase 2 of the Natural Disaster Recovery Funding (NDR2) was announced by the Commonwealth on 14 February 2020 with Coffs Harbour to receive an additional $300,000.

 

Additionally, the NSW State Government approved funding of $100,000 on 27 February 2020 from the Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund (Phase 1) for events or initiatives to support local businesses, industry recovery, and community recovery and wellbeing.

 

This represents a total funding pool of $1,400,000.

 

The Natural Disaster Recovery Funding (Phase 1) required Council to develop a Program of Works within three months and report back to the Commonwealth in 12 months.  Council was also advised that Councils were able to spend the initial $1 million payments on projects and activities that they deem essential for the recovery and renewal of their communities, including:

 

·     Rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities;

·     Employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort;

·     Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions; and

·     Immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.

 

Following a community meeting on 28 January 2020, Council resolved on 13 February 2020 to undertake an interim Program of Works totalling $416,784, as a means of deploying some of the funding quickly in the most beneficial manner to the affected community.

 

The interim Program of works adopted by Council consisted of:

 

1.    Nana Glen Community Hall, solar panels and air-conditioning, $70,000;

2.    Community Led Recovery Event, $50,000;

3.    Business and Tourism support, strategies to move visitors to affected areas, $68,000;

4.    Appointment of a 12-month Community Recovery Officer resource, $150,000;

5.    Grant $78,784 towards the refurbishment of existing amenities and undercover outdoor area at Lower Bucca Community Preschool and Hall, the total cost requirement being $88,784.

 

Council also resolved to continue to engage with the Orara Valley community and more broadly with a view to identifying the most appropriate application of the remaining funds available from the Commonwealth Government financial support including investigating opportunities for environmental restoration projects and road upgrades in the Orara Valley including Ellems Quarry Road and McPhersons Road and bridge.

 

Issues:

 

At the community meeting on 28 January and in the report to Council on 13 February it was suggested that some of the required works may be able to be addressed through reprioritisation of existing budget priorities and/or seeking other dedicated grant funding.  To this end, the works required on Ellems Quarry Road have been considered and Council is in the process of claiming part of the costs back from the Federal Government under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) which cover damage to public infrastructure during disasters.  The remaining required funds will be supplemented with local funding from Council’s own road budgets to renew and seal the entire road.  At this stage it is anticipated that the work will take place during the first quarter of the 20/21 financial year, most likely in August 2020.  The outcome ideally will be a sealed road from start to finish.

 

Council held a further community meeting on 11 March 2020 to update and inform property owners and the broader community of recent developments in the recovery process and the current funding available for established community priorities.

 

In addition to feedback from both the community meeting of 28 January 2020 and the 11 March 2020; Council has considered 42 responses to a Have Your Say survey on Council’s website, telephone and in-person interviews with Nana Glen residents and Orara Valley businesses, feedback directly to the Acting Community Recovery Officer, as well as ongoing consultation with the community led Orara Valley Bushfire Recovery Working Group.

 

Feedback from these sources could be broadly categorised as:

 

·     Infrastructure Repairs and Improvement – the repair of roads, buildings, bridges and access points, improvement of communal facilities and the provision of support for building approvals and renewal of fencing.

·     Fund Allocation – assistance with insurance issues and the provision of funding specifically for community requests and local community groups such as Landcare.

·     Emergency Resources – creation of evacuation points, improved emergency infrastructure, improvement of Nana Glen Hall, storage facilities for emergency equipment

·     Education – provision of workshops to educate and engage community on fire and drought resilience

·     Improved communication – direct communication with the community

·     Conservation – Nesting boxes, involvement of locals in supporting wildlife rehabilitation

 

Resulting from this community engagement and consultation with the NSW Rural Fire Service, Council developed eight proposed projects for allocation of the remaining $983,216 of the Natural Disaster Recovery Funding. Of these, five of the projects received strong community support at the community meeting of 11 March 2020 and are proposed for funding.

 

The projects proposed for consideration of the Program of Works are:

 

1.    Hard Stand sites for water access by Rural Fire Service tankers                                 $250,000

The upgrade of hard stand sites at 10 designated creek sites would ensure durable access to fill sites across the local government area during fire emergencies.  These fill sites are located at Brooklana, Camp Creek, Ulong, Lowanna, Edward Sharpe Bridge Nana Glen, McClellands Road Bucca, Moonee, Upper Corindi, Red Rock and Bonville.

 

2.    Turnaround Bays for Emergency Vehicles                                                                       $70,000

Large Rural Fire Service tankers are often unable to safely turnaround on narrow heavily vegetated roads.  This funding would provide four turnaround bays on the escarpment on Bushman’s Range Road between Gundarene Quarry Road and Mole Creek Road.  An additional turnaround bay is also proposed for Coldwater Creek Road and Jirrah Forest Road.

 

3.    Upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places                                                                      $200,000

Neighbourhood Safer Places are a place of last resort during a bush fire emergency.  Designated Neighbourhood Safer Places have been identified by the Rural Fire Service within the Orara Valley at Upper Orara, Nana Glen, Ulong, Lowanna, Karangi and Coramba.  Subject to further planning, Council would seek to use this funding to upgrade some of these community facilities to accommodate residents and emergency service personnel in the event of a bush fire emergency.

 

4.    Environmental Recovery Program                                                                                 $213,216

Feedback from community consultation indicated strong support for an environmental recovery program.  The project would include a Community Environmental Grants Program to address weed control, regeneration of native planting, soil erosion and habitat renewal in partnership with landowners and organisations such as Landcare and Envite.  The Program would also include education workshops about local environmental issues and ecosystem; in addition to a specialist ecologist review.

 

5.    Replacement of McPhersons Bridge, Nana Glen                                                          $250,000

During the bushfire event, the Nana Glen Rural Fire Brigade made a decision not to defend McPhersons Road as there was uncertainty as to whether the bridge on this road could support the weight of a loaded cat tanker.  This bridge is owned by Crown Lands and not Council.

 

Council is presently investigating the weight load of McPhersons Road Bridge.  If the bridge is certified to take the weight of a loaded cat tanker, no further work will be required.  Alternatively, if the bridge is determined not to be load bearing and requires replacement/alteration, Council will seek to advocate to Crown Lands to replace the bridge at their expense.  Should Crown Lands refuse to replace the McPhersons Road Bridge, it is proposed that Council replace the bridge from the $1m Federal funding.

 

Should the funding identified for the replacement of the McPhersons Road Bridge not be required; it is recommended that the funds be reallocated as an additional $100,000 for upgrade of Neighbourhood Safer Places and $150,000 to the Environmental Recovery Program.  Both projects received strong community support, and would benefit a large number of community members not only within the Orara Valley but also the broader local government area.

 

To enable further community engagement, Council has developed a range of avenues for community members to obtain information about a range of bushfire related issues including implementation of the proposed Program of Works.  A ‘Have Your Say’ page has been developed specific to the bushfire recovery within Council’s wider Have Your Say platform for information and a temporary community recovery office has been established at Nana Glen.

Options:

1.    Adopt the proposed Program of Works, thus enabling the deployment of the $983,216 funding in a timely manner;

2.    Amend the proposed Program of Works and then adopt, thus enabling the deployment of the $983,216 funding in a timely manner;

3.    Reject the proposed Program of Works and seek further information to enable consideration of all projects and/or activities proposed. This option would potentially result in Council not meeting the Federal Government’s requirement to adopt a Final Program of Works within three months of the grant announcement.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

Restoration of the environment and wildlife impacted by the bushfires featured as a matter of concern for community members.  The inclusion of an Environmental Recovery Program seeks to address issues concerning weed control, the regeneration of native plantings, soil erosion and habitat renewal.

 

In pursuing the deployment of any projects contained within the Program of Works, relevant environmental considerations will be taken into account.

•     Social

The Interim Program of Works provided funding to promote community wellbeing and resilience for our community impacted by the bushfires.  Council has developed a wide ranging community program which includes the delivery of Council services such as library story time and movie nights in the bushfire impacted area.  This program also includes community resilience programs partnering with Red Cross and other organisations on targeted programs to promote community connections and workshops; and support for existing local events such as the Orara Valley Fair.

 

Whilst identified in the Interim Program of Works funded by the Federal Government, these activities will now be funded by the NSW Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund (Phase 1), and the funding returned to the Federal Funding for reallocation in the final Program of Works.

•     Civic Leadership

Whilst several projects were identified in the Interim Program of Works for expeditious implementation, Council sought further input from the community with regard to the deployment of the remaining funding in an appropriate manner that would benefit the community.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

It is envisaged that the deployment of the projects identified within the proposed Program of Works will act as an economic and resilience lift particularly to the Nana Glen community, and more broadly the Coffs Harbour local government area, both in the short and long term

Risk Analysis:

It is not anticipated that significant risk is associated with the nominated projects within the proposed Program of Works, given what seemed to be a strong indication of support for these style of initiatives at the Nana Glen Community meeting of 11 March 2020.  It should be noted however that in delivering each of the nominated projects, Council’s adopted Risk Management framework shall be applied to ensure any risk is adequately mitigated.

Consultation:

Council has undertaken a series of community consultations with Orara Valley residents and the broader community to inform the development of the proposed Program of Works, including:

 

·     Community meetings at Nana Glen Community Hall on 28 January 2020 and 11 March 2020

·     A ‘Have Your Say’ survey within Council’s wider Have Your Say platform receiving 42 responses

·     Telephone and in person interviews with Nana Glen residents and Orara Valley businesses

·     Feedback to the Acting Community Recovery Officer

·     Feedback from the community led Orara Valley Bushfire Recovery Working Group

 

Additionally, Council has consulted internally and with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

In specific terms, there is no related policy, precedents or statutory requirements. In many ways the provision of the Federal funding is unprecedented.

 

The information provided in the original media release issued on 9 January 2020 established that the only condition placed on councils is to develop a Program of Works within three months and report back to the Commonwealth in 12 months’ time. Additionally, the advice provided on 9 January 2020 indicated the funds should be spent on projects and activities that they deem essential for the recovery and renewal of their communities, including:

·     Rebuilding damaged or destroyed council assets such as key local roads, bridges, and community facilities;

·     Employing additional local staff to take on specialist recovery or planning roles to help coordinate and plan the rebuilding effort;

·     Hosting new public activities and events to bring communities together and attract visitors back to affected regions; and

·     Immediate maintenance and repairs to relief and evacuation centres.

This has been confirmed in the more recent correspondence dated 13 March 2020 from the NSW Office of Local Government (Attachment 3) advising of the granting of a further $300,000 for this fund.

Implementation Date / Priority:

The Commonwealth Government has indicated that projects funded by the Natural Disaster Recovery Funding within Bushfire affected communities should be spent within 12 months but ideally as expeditiously as possible.  Delivery of the Interim Program of Works adopted by Council has commenced and subject to Council endorsing the proposed Program of Works for the remaining funds, the aim will be to expedite delivery of those projects/activities in a timely manner.

Conclusion:

As adopted in the Interim Program of Works, Council has undertaken a considerable level of community consultation and engagement with community members of impacted bushfire areas to inform the final projects recommended for the remaining Natural Disaster Recovery Funding provided by the Commonwealth Government.  The proposed Program of Works seeks to address issues of community concern, whilst offering the best possible long term community benefit for those communities who were impacted by the November 2019 bushfire event or who may be impacted by bushfires in the future.

 


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BS20/22       Bank and Investment Balances for February 2020

Author:                        Section Leader Financial Planning

Authoriser:                  Director Business Services

MyCoffs:                      D.2 We have effective use of public resources.

Attachments:              ATT1  BS20/22   Investment Performance Report for the Month Ended 29 February 2019  

 

Executive Summary

Council’s Bank Balances and Investments as at 29 February 2020 totalled $223,972,629.05.  Council receives independent advice and invests surplus funds in accordance with Council’s Investment Policy to maximise investment income and preserve capital to assist with funding requirements for projects listed under the My Coffs Community Strategic Plan.

 

Also included in the monthly report is a summary of Council’s Socially Responsible Investment Performance (refer Attachment 1).

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council note the bank balances and investments totalling $223,972,629.05 (including from loans, Developer Contributions and other avenues that form the restricted accounts and are committed for future works) as at 29 February 2020.

 

Report

Description of Item:

A copy of the state of Bank Balances and Investments as at 29 February 2020 is attached.  Also included is a summary of Council’s Socially Responsible Investment Performance.  It should be noted that Council is required to account for investments in accordance with the Australian International Financial Reporting Standards.  Term deposits are shown at face value and all other investment balances at the end of each month reflect market value movements, which would be inclusive of accrued interest.

 

Interest when paid, say quarterly, would result in reductions in the market value of the investments.  The Investment Report reflects the above requirements and reflects the interest earned (or accrued) on each investment, based on the acquisition price.

 

Reports written by Laminar Group Pty Ltd (Council’s investment portfolio advisors), which examine economic and financial markets data for February 2020 are available in the Councillors’ Resource Centre.

Issues:

There are no issues associated with the report.

Options:

As the report is for noting only, an options analysis is not required.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

There are no perceived current or future environmental impacts from the information contained in this report.

•     Social

There are no perceived current or future social impacts from the information contained in this report.

•     Civic Leadership

Council invests surplus funds to maximise investment income and preserve capital to assist with funding requirements for projects listed under the My Coffs Community Strategic Plan.

•     Economic – Broader Economic Implications

Council’s investments are held according to the requirements stated within Council’s Investment Policy and the returns are acceptable in relation thereto.  In the long term, earnings from investments can vary due to economic conditions and financial markets.  Council constructs its investment portfolio with consideration of current conditions and to comply with the Office of Local Government Investment Policy Guidelines.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

As at 29 February 2020, it is noted that the total bank and investment balance was $223,972,629.05 comprising restricted and unrestricted General, Trust, Water and Sewerage Fund cash and investments.

Risk Analysis:

The likelihood of risks associated with New South Wales Local Government’s investing funds is now remote due to the conservative nature of investments permitted under statutory requirements.  The risk of capital not being returned in relation to each individual investment Council owns is indicated in the attachment.

 

The main risks for Council’s investment portfolio are liquidity and credit risk, both of which are being managed under the advice of Laminar Group Pty Ltd.  Liquidity risk is the risk that the Council is unable to redeem the investment at a fair price within a timely period and thereby incurs additional costs (or in the worst case is unable to execute its spending plans).  Credit risk is the risk of loss of principal stemming from a financial institutions failure to repay that principal when that principal is due.  Council is compensated for assuming credit risk by way of interest payments from the financial institutions issuing the investment security.

 

Credit risk is rated by various rating agencies.  Investment securities in Council’s current portfolio are rated by either Standard and Poors or Fitch, with the majority of the portfolio rated by Standard and Poors.  Standard and Poors credit ratings and an explanation of their ratings are as follows:

 

Rating

Ratings Explanation

AAA

Extremely strong capacity to meet financial commitments.  Highest Rating.

AA

Very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.

A

Strong capacity to meet financial commitments, but somewhat susceptible to adverse economic conditions and changes in circumstances.

BBB

Adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.

BBB-

Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.

BB+

Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.

BB

Less vulnerable in the near term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.

B

More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.

CCC

Currently vulnerable and dependent on favourable business, financial and economic conditions to meet financial commitments.

CC

Currently highly vulnerable.

C

Currently highly vulnerable obligations and other defined circumstances.

D

Payment default on financial commitments.

 

Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

 

Types of investment securities by credit risk ranking from highest to lowest are as follows:

 

·    Deposits/Covered Bonds – these share first ranking

·    Senior debt – Floating Rate Notes/Fixed Coupon Bonds.

·    Subordinated debt

·    Hybrids

·    Preference shares

·    Equity shares (common shares).

 

Subordinated debt, hybrids, preference and equity shares are not a permitted investment under the current Ministerial Order.  Term deposits of $250,000 or less per financial institution are covered under the Commonwealth Government Deposit Guarantee Scheme and therefore by default have the same credit rating as the Commonwealth Government, i.e. AAA.

 

All credit unions, building societies and mutual banks are Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) and are regulated in the same way as all other Australian banks.  ADIs are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission under the Corporations Act 2001, and by the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority under the Banking Act 1959.

Consultation:

Council’s investment advisors, Laminar Group Pty Ltd have been consulted in the preparation of this report.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

Council funds have been invested in accordance with Council’s Investment Policy (POL‑049), which was adopted on 24 August 2017.

Local Government Act 1993 – Section 625

Local Government Act 1993 – Investment Order (dated 12 January 2011)

Local Government General Regulation 2005

The Trustee Amendment (Discretionary Investments) Act 1997 – Sections 14A(2), 14C(1) and 14C(2)

Implementation Date / Priority:

Nil.

Conclusion:

Council should consider the information provided in the report and the Councillors’ Resource Centre and the recommendation provided.

 

 

 


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BS20/23       Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 31 January 2020

Author:                        Senior Finance Business Partner

Authoriser:                  Director Business Services

MyCoffs:                      D.2 We have effective use of public resources.

Attachments:              ATT1  BS20/23   Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 31 January 2020  

 

Executive Summary

This report presents the Monthly Financial Performance Report for 31 January 2020.  The report provides information on the actual to budget position at the financial statement level and capital expenditure reports for the current financial year.  The projected year to date surplus is $47.6 million with the actual year to date being $51.3 million.

The explanation of year to date variances is contained within the Income Statement commentary under Variance Comments for variances greater than 10%.  There are individual recurrent revenue sources with variances but overall recurrent revenue is on track, similarly for recurrent expenditure.

The capital expenditure target for the current financial year is $77.9 million with $31 million expended to the end of January.

 

Recommendation:

That Council note the Monthly Financial Performance Report for 31 January 2020.

 

Report

Description of Item:

The Monthly Financial Performance Report provides information on Council’s actual to budget performance.  The report provides accrual based information to Council on a monthly basis and designed to identify and explain any major variances between budgeted and actual results.

The report includes:

 

Financial Management Summary

·     The net operating surplus at the end of January is $5.5 million ahead of budget expectations.  The total surplus after capital grants is $51.3 million against a budget of $47.6 million.  Operating expenditure to the end of January is $96.3 million against a budget of $101.9 million.

·     Capital expenses is on track of YTD budget expectations with total capital expenditure to the end of January of $31 million versus a YTD budget of $32.5 million and annual targeted expenditure of $77.9 million.  Further details are provided in the Capital Expenditure Report comments.

 

Income Statement

·     This is a comprehensive income statement detailing the monthly performance for January 2020.  This statement compares actual to budget on a monthly and year to date basis at the financial statement level.  In terms of monthly percentages, although some percentages may be large in dollar terms, they have a minor impact on financial performance.  There are individual comments for any monthly and YTD variances greater than 10%.

 

Capital Expenditure Summary and Detailed

·     Capital expenditure by cost centre and then at a more detailed level is also provided in the attachment.  Explanations have been provided for any variances greater than $200,000.

Issues:

Income Statement commentary as at 31 January 2020 for Year to Date (YTD) variances:

 

Revenue

·     Other Revenues:  There is a decrease in other revenues due to the construction of Enterprise Park being treated as internal works. This is about to cease with the commencement of additional grant funding for the Enterprise Park project and external contractors appointed.

·    Capital Grants, Subsidies, Contributions & Donations: The majority of the variance is due to the timing of capital contributions being allocated within the budget.

 

Expenditure

·    Materials & Contracts:  There is a variation in materials and contracts due to operational efficiencies in the water and sewer service areas.

·    Other Expenses: The primary shortfall relates to the reduction of energy costs, this will be reviewed in the March QBRS.

 

Income Statement commentary as at 31 January 2020 for Monthly variances:

 

Revenue

·    Rates and Annual Charges:  The variance is minor in monetary terms. Pension rebates for General, Water, Sewer & Domestic Waste were less than expected for the month.

·    User Charges & Fees: The variation in user charges and fees is primarily due to a reduction in water usage.

·    Other Revenues: There is a decrease in other revenues due to the construction of Enterprise Park being treated as internal works. This is about to cease with the commencement of additional grant funding for the Enterprise Park project and external contractors appointed.

·    Capital Grants, Subsidies, Contributions & Donations: The majority of the variance is due to the timing of capital contributions being allocated within the budget.

 

Expenditure

·     Other Expenses:  The primary shortfall relates to some budgets allocated to other expenses whereas actual expenditure is being allocated to materials and contracts.  This will be corrected in 2020/21 and future budgets.

Options:

An options analysis is not provided as the report is for noting only.

Sustainability Assessment:

•      Environment

There are no perceived short or long-term environmental impacts for the information contained within the report.

•      Social

There are no perceived short or long-term social impacts for the information contained within the report.

•      Civic Leadership

Council supports the delivery of high quality, sustainable outcomes for Coffs Harbour by monitoring financial performance which assists the decision making process to allocate funding for projects listed under the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan.

•      Economic – Broader Economic Implications

This report assesses the current year’s budget position only.  Any variations approved by Council are subsequently reflected in Council’s Delivery Plan and may affect future economic sustainability.

•      Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

The year to date surplus, after capital revenue, is projected to be $47.6 million as at
31 January 2020 with the actual year to date being $51.3 million.

Risk Analysis:

There are no risks associated with this report.

Consultation:

Group Leaders and their relevant staff have been provided with budget reports for each cost centre on a monthly basis for review.  Any variations will be provided to Council for adoption through the Quarterly Budget Review process.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

Local Government regulations require the Responsible Accounting Officer to submit a quarterly budget review to Council.  There is no obligation to provide monthly financial performance reports but as part of prudent financial management, we have opted to do so.

Implementation Date / Priority:

This report is for noting only and therefore there are no implementation actions.

Conclusion:

This Monthly Financial Performance Report provides information on the actual to budget results at the financial statement level along with capital expenditure reports for the current financial year.

 

The Responsible Accounting Officer confirms the Monthly Financial Performance Report for the month ended 31 January 2020 indicates the financial position of the Council is satisfactory, having regard to the projected estimates of income and expenditure and the original budgeted income and expenditure.

 


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BS20/24       Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 29 February 2020

Author:                        Senior Finance Business Partner

Authoriser:                  Director Business Services

MyCoffs:                      D.2 We have effective use of public resources.

Attachments:              ATT1  BS20/24   Monthly Financial Performance Report for the Month Ended 29 February 2020  

 

Executive Summary

This report presents the Monthly Financial Performance Report for 29 February 2020.  The report provides information on the actual to budget position at the financial statement level and capital expenditure reports for the current financial year.  The projected year to date surplus is $37.3 million with the actual year to date being $42.8 million.

 

The explanation of year to date variances is contained within the Income Statement commentary under Variance Comments for variances greater than 10%.  There are individual recurrent revenue sources with variances but overall recurrent revenue is on track, similarly for recurrent expenditure.

 

The capital expenditure target for the current financial year is $77.9 million with $33.5 million expended to the end of February.

 

 

Recommendation:

That Council note the Monthly Financial Performance Report for 29 February 2020.

 

Report

Description of Item:

The Monthly Financial Performance Report provides information on Council’s actual to budget performance.  The report provides accrual based information to Council on a monthly basis and designed to identify and explain any major variances between budgeted and actual results.

 

The report includes:

 

Financial Management Summary

·     The net operating surplus at the end of February is $5.5 million ahead of budget expectations.  The total surplus after capital grants is $42.8 million against a budget of $37.3 million.  Operating expenditure to the end of February is $108.7 million against a budget of $113 million.

·     Capital expenses is on track of YTD budget expectations with total capital expenditure to the end of February of $33.5 million versus a YTD budget of $36.8 million. However, there is a risk the annual targeted expenditure of $77.9 million will not be met and may require further budgets to be moved to the 2020/21 financial year.  Further details are provided in the Capital Expenditure Report comments.


 

 

Income Statement

·     This is a comprehensive income statement detailing the monthly performance for February 2020.  This statement compares actual to budget on a monthly and year to date basis at the financial statement level.  In terms of monthly percentages, although some percentages may be large in dollar terms, they have a minor impact on financial performance.  There are individual comments for any monthly and YTD variances greater than 10%.

 

Capital Expenditure Summary and Detailed

·     Capital expenditure by cost centre and then at a more detailed level is also provided in the attachment.  Explanations have been provided for any variances greater than $200,000.

Issues:

Income Statement commentary as at 29 February 2020 for Year to Date (YTD) variances:

 

Revenue

·    Capital Grants, Subsidies, Contributions & Donations: The majority of the variance is due to subdivision asset dedications recognised that are not currently budgeted for. The budget will be reviewed in the March QBRS.

 

Expenditure

·    Materials & Contracts:    Some projects have been impacted by wet weather, there is also less commercial works than anticipated due to internal works for Enterprise Park.

 

·    Other Expenses:    The primary shortfall relates to the reduction of energy costs, this will be reviewed in the March QBRS.

 

Income Statement commentary as at 29 February 2020 for Monthly variances:

 

Revenue

·    Rates and Annual Charges:     The variance is minor in monetary terms. Pension rebates for General, Water, Sewer & Domestic Waste were slightly higher than expected for the month.

·    User Charges & Fees:    Private works income is lower than expected for the month of February due to wet weather. Airport passenger revenue is lower due to the timing of revenue invoices, this will balance out in March.

·    Capital Grants, Subsidies, Contributions & Donations: The majority of the variance is due to the timing of capital contributions being allocated within the budget.

 

Expenditure

·     Materials & Contracts:    The majority of the variance relates to the timing of projects that were budgeted to commence in February but have been delayed due to wet weather. There is also a variance due to Commercial Works activity less than anticipated.

 

·     Other Expenses:    The primary shortfall relates to some budgets allocated to other expenses whereas the actual expenditure is being allocated to materials & contracts, this will be reviewed in the March QBRS.

Options:

An options analysis is not provided as the report is for noting only.


 

Sustainability Assessment:

•      Environment

There are no perceived short or long-term environmental impacts for the information contained within the report.

•      Social

There are no perceived short or long-term social impacts for the information contained within the report.

•      Civic Leadership

Council supports the delivery of high quality, sustainable outcomes for Coffs Harbour by monitoring financial performance which assists the decision making process to allocate funding for projects listed under the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan.

•      Economic – Broader Economic Implications

This report assesses the current year’s budget position only.  Any variations approved by Council are subsequently reflected in Council’s Delivery Plan and may affect future economic sustainability.

•      Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

The year to date surplus, after capital revenue, is projected to be $37.3 million as at 29 February 2020 with the actual year to date being $42.8 million.

Risk Analysis:

There are no risks associated with this report.

Consultation:

Group Leaders and their relevant staff have been provided with budget reports for each cost centre on a monthly basis for review.  Any variations will be provided to Council for adoption through the Quarterly Budget Review process.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

Local Government regulations require the Responsible Accounting Officer to submit a quarterly budget review to Council.  There is no obligation to provide monthly financial performance reports but as part of prudent financial management, we have opted to do so.

Implementation Date / Priority:

This report is for noting only and therefore there are no implementation actions.

 

Conclusion:

 

This Monthly Financial Performance Report provides information on the actual to budget results at the financial statement level along with capital expenditure reports for the current financial year.

The Responsible Accounting Officer confirms the Monthly Financial Performance Report for the month ended 29 February 2020 indicates the financial position of the Council is satisfactory, having regard to the projected estimates of income and expenditure and the original budgeted income and expenditure.

 


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NOM20/03   Moonee Beach Estate - Access and Funding

Attachments:          Nil

 

Motion:

Councillor Amos has given notice of his intention to move the following:

"That Council allocates $75k to investigate options for additional access to the proposed new estate at Moonee Beach north. The funding to be allocated from the 20/21 road infrastructure budget."

 

Rationale:

“The housing estate proposed for Moonee north will only have one access from the south through the suburban collector roads. This will be unsuitable for the 600 odd lot housing estate proposed and it is imperative a northern access option is considered.”

Staff Comment:

Should Council advance this Notice of Motion, it should be acknowledged these funds will deliver preliminary additional access options for consideration as part of a staged investigation. This stage will provide the opportunity to revisit previous investigations and correspondence with relevant State agencies, identify land use and stakeholder constraints, and identify access options for traffic analysis for further investigation.

Should the above deliver feasible access options, and Council wish to proceed to the next stage, further funding will be required to undertake detailed analysis and concept design for an additional access road to inform possible future modifications to planning documents. This stage should also explore funding options.

  


SC20/12       Review of Council's Fees and Charges for Proponent-Initiated Planning Proposals

Author:                        Senior Planner/Urban Designer

Authoriser:                  Director Sustainable Communities

MyCoffs:                      D.2 We have effective use of public resources.

Attachments:              ATT1  SC20/12   CONFIDENTIAL Submissions

Confidential in accordance with Section 10A(2)(e) of the Local Government Act as it contains information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law.  

 

Executive Summary

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 28 November 2019 resolved to place the findings of a review of Council’s fees and charges where they relate to proponent initiated amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013 (i.e. proponent-initiated planning proposals) on public exhibition for a period of 28 days.

This public exhibition took place from 18 December 2019 until 14 February 2020. A total of seven submissions were received during the exhibition period. The purpose of this report is to inform Council of the feedback received during this public consultation process and to seek endorsement from Council to retain its current fees and charges that relate to proponent-initiated planning proposals, on the basis that they are fair and reasonable, and comparable to those of other regional cities on the North Coast of NSW.

 

Recommendation:

That Council:

1.       Retain its existing fees and charges where they relate to proponent-initiated amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013.

2.       Advise persons who made a submission of Council’s decision.

 

Report

Description of Item:

At Council’s Ordinary Meeting of 28 November 2019, it was resolved:

That Council place the findings of a review of Council’s fees and charges where they relate to proponent initiated amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 on public exhibition for a period of 28 days.

In accordance with that resolution, a suite of information titled Review of Fees and Charges for LEP Amendments was placed on Council’s Have Your Say website from 18 December 2019 to 14 February 2020. The exhibition material included information about the LEP amendment process, Council's existing fees and charges for proponent-initiated LEP amendments and how fees and charges for LEP amendments compare with those for other NSW North Coast regional cities.

Issues:

At the conclusion of the public consultation process, seven submissions were received by Council. Key issues raised by submissions are summarised as follows:

·    Fees and charges for proponent-initiated LEP amendments are unaffordable and unrealistic

Some submissions received suggest that Council’s fees and charges for proponent-initiated LEP amendments are unaffordable and unrealistic.

Council’s role as the Relevant Planning Authority for proponent-initiated requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 is complex and lengthy, involving project management, assessment of technical reports, preparation of planning proposals, community and agency consultation, and detailed administrative functions (i.e. Council reports, briefings, spatial mapping, negotiations with Parliamentary Counsel on legal drafting, public exhibition and notification).

Council’s pricing policy within its adopted fees and charges for requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 is based on the ‘User Pays Principle’ (i.e. services where individual costs can be determined and met by the user of the service). Under ‘full cost-recovery pricing’, the price for the service is set to recover the total operating costs, both direct and indirect, of providing this service.

Council offers the ability for proponents to pay the fees and charges associated with requests for amendments to Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 as milestones to reduce risk, or alternatively they can choose a discounted one-off payment option. In addition, requests for amendments to Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 are payable per application, not per property, which minimises the cost in situations where proponents submit a combined application for more than one property.

·    Different methodologies are applied by councils to calculate LEP amendment fees

The legislative basis for Council’s fees and charges are contained within the Local Government Act 1993, which provides that councils may charge and recover an approved fee for services they provide. Under the user pays principle, fees are introduced to offset the cost of service provision, in order to support the provision of services and to alleviate the burden that would otherwise be unfairly placed upon ratepayers.

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 enables a Relevant Planning Authority (i.e. Council) to enter into an agreement with a person who requests an amendment to the LEP under Part 3 of the Act for the payment of the costs and expenses incurred by the authority in undertaking the studies and other matters required in relation to the LEP amendment.

There are, however, no set fees and/or methodology provided under this legislation. In this regard, the fees and methodologies applied by councils across NSW vary and in some instances, councils utilise a negotiated cost agreement process for planning proposals due to the complexity and uncertainty associated with the process.

Council’s methodology has been developed to align with the milestones (steps) involved with preparing LEP amendments as set out in the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s documents: ‘A guide to preparing planning proposals 2018’ and ‘A guide to preparing local environmental plans 2018’. As discussed above, this enables a proponent to pay fees as milestones to reduce risk and/or via a one off discounted fee.

·    Financial risk to the proponent

Some submissions received note that there is a financial risk to proponents when making an application to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 as the fees are non-refundable and there is no guarantee that the LEP amendment will proceed successfully.

It is acknowledged that there are uncertainties involved in requesting an LEP amendment, depending on NSW Government requirements, the complexity of the proposed amendment, land characteristics or constraints and planning issues that may arise. It is for this reason that Council’s adopted fees and charges for proponent initiated requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 are set up to provide two pathways, and the pricing structure is based on the complexity of the proposal. 

A proponent can choose to make a one off discounted payment for the whole process (excluding a pre-lodgement fee), or alternatively they may choose to stage payments for each step in the process to reduce risk where the proposal may be highly complex and the outcome is uncertain. In addition, requests for amendments to Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 are payable per application, not per property, which minimises financial risks in situations where adjoining landowners coordinate and submit a combined application for more than one property.

·    Fees and charges are discriminatory to landowners

Some submissions suggest that landowners within the Korora-West Sapphire-Moonee (KWSM) Large Lot Residential Candidate Area within Council’s Local Growth Management Strategy are being unfairly burdened, as opposed to landowners in the Korora Basin and Bonville who were not required to undertake proponent-initiated planning proposals.

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 10 August 2017 resolved to adopt a Joint Report prepared by Planners North (a planning consultant engaged by landowners from the KWSM Large Lot Residential Candidate Area) in conjunction with Council. That report recommended proponent-initiated and funded requests for LEP amendments for large lot residential purposes within the KWSM candidate area. The Joint Report clarified that the lodgement of requests for LEP amendments could be undertaken on an individual or ‘multiple lot’ basis (i.e. where a group of landholders’ lodge one application to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 which applies to more than one allotment, thus making the LEP amendment fees more cost effective as they are payable for each application and not per property).

The adopted Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy Chapter 6 – Large Lot Residential Lands requires proponent-initiated planning proposals for all candidate areas and not just the KWSM Large Lot Residential Candidate Area.

·    Reduced fees and charges for smaller parcels of land

Some submissions suggested that current fees and charges disproportionately burden landowners on smaller parcels of land as they will not benefit the same subdivision opportunities as larger land parcels, hence fees and charges should be scaled proportionally to lot size. As discussed above, Council’s fees and charges are established to cover staff time to process an LEP amendment over a period of one or more years, regardless of lot size as this does not generally reduce the time and/or complexity of the process.

The adopted Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy Chapter 6 - Large Lot Residential Lands enables proponents to investigate a reduced minimum lot size for land within Zone R5 Large Lot Residential which may make proposals more viable. Alternatively, planning proposals can be undertaken on a multiple lot basis so that fees are more cost effective as they are payable for each application and not per property.

·    Fee comparison is limited to regional city councils

Some submissions suggested that the review should be undertaken against nearby Councils such as Nambucca, Kempsey, Clarence Valley and Bellingen. The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment requires councils to use comparable benchmarks (i.e. other regional coastal city councils of a similar size and character). The North Coast Regional Plan 2036 identifies North Coast regional cities as Port Macquarie, Tweed Heads, Lismore and Coffs Harbour. It is for this reason that the review of fees and charges has used these councils as a comparison. The report tabled at Council’s Ordinary Meeting of 28 November 2019 demonstrated that Council’s fees and charges for complex (major) LEP amendments are fair, reasonable and comparable with these other NSW North Coast regional cities, with regard to the complexity and lengthy timeframes associated with LEP amendments.

Options:

Council has a number of options available in relation to this matter. They include:

1.   Resolve to adopt the recommendations of this report.

2.   Resolve to undertake an alternative approach.

3.   Resolve not to adopt the recommendations of this report.

Option 1 is recommended as the suitable course of action.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

There are no direct environmental impacts associated with the recommendations of this report, however Council’s endorsed fees and charges provide for a transparent local environmental plan amendment process and enables the proper consideration of environmental impacts associated with such proposals.

•     Social

There are no direct social impacts associated with the recommendations of this report, however Council’s endorsed fees and charges provide for a transparent local environmental plan amendment process and enables the proper consideration of social impacts associated with such proposals.

•     Civic Leadership

Civic leadership is demonstrated in this report by addressing the objectives in Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan 2017, particularly C1.2 (We undertake development that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible).

•     Economic – Broader Economic Implications

Council’s pricing policy within its adopted 2019/2020 Fees and Charges for requests to amend its LEP are based on the ‘user pays principle’ (i.e. services where individual costs can be determined and met by the user of the service). Under the user pays principle, fees are introduced to offset the cost of service provision, in order to support the provision of services and to alleviate the burden that would otherwise be unfairly placed upon ratepayers. A reduction in the fees and charges associated with requests to amend Council’s LEP would unfairly burden ratepayers who don’t receive any gain from the proposal.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

Council’s role as the Relevant Planning Authority for proponent-initiated requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 is complex and lengthy. The fees that Council receives from proponent-initiated requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 are used to resource the amendment process. A reduction in such fees will place additional burden on existing planning staff and thus may delay the finalisation of other projects within Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan.

Risk Analysis:

A reduction in the fees and charges for proponent initiated requests to amend Coffs Harbour LEP 2013 will result in significant resourcing implications for Council’s Sustainable Places Group and thus may delay the finalisation of other projects within Council’s Delivery Program and Operational Plan. An additional risk is that ratepayers that don’t receive any direct gain from the LEP amendment are unfairly burdened if Council funds the short fall for the true costs of this service.

Consultation:

A suite of information titled ‘Review of Fees and Charges for LEP Amendments’ was placed on Council’s Have Your Say website from 18 December 2019 to 14 February 2020 for community feedback. This included information about the LEP amendment process, Council's existing fees and charges for proponent-initiated LEP amendments and how fees and charges for LEP amendments compare with those for the comparable NSW North Coast regional cities.

Place Score

In early 2019, Council undertook extensive community consultation using the Place Score placemaking tool to understand community priorities and values. The top strength for the Coffs Harbour LGA identified as part of this consultation was “Elements of the Natural Environment”. Despite this strength, the community identified “Protection of the Natural Environment” in its top five priorities for improvement. Sufficiently resourcing LEP amendment processes via adequate fees and charges will assist in meeting the community’s priority to protect the natural environment and biodiversity values within the Coffs Harbour LGA.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

Council’s 2019/2020 Fees and Charges have been adopted in accordance with Section 608 of the Local Government Act 1993. Amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 are undertaken in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000. Council’s adopted fees and charges accord with the provisions of this legislation.

Implementation Date / Priority:

Nil.

Conclusion:

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 28 November 2019 resolved to place the findings of a review of Council’s fees and charges where they relate to proponent-initiated amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 on public exhibition for a period of 28 days. This exhibition was undertaken from 18 December 2019 to 14 February 2020.

The purpose of this report is to inform Council of the feedback received during the public consultation process and to recommend that Council retain its existing fees and charges where they relate to proponent-initiated amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013.

 


SC20/13       Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands Post Exhibition

Author:                        Senior Planner/Urban Designer

Authoriser:                  Director Sustainable Communities

MyCoffs:                      B.1 A thriving and sustainable local economy

Attachments:              ATT1  SC20/13   Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands - Post Exhibition

ATT2  SC20/13   CONFIDENTIAL Submissions Received in Response to Chapter 5 Rural Lands Exhibition

Confidential in accordance with Section 10A(2)(e) of the Local Government Act as it contains information that would, if disclosed, prejudice the maintenance of law.  

 

Executive Summary

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 6 December 2018 resolved to endorse draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands and to publicly exhibit the document for a minimum period of 28 days. Council further resolved at its Ordinary Meeting of 28 March 2019 to publicly exhibit the Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture and simultaneously re-exhibit draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands for a minimum period of 28 days.

The purpose of this report is to seek endorsement of the final Chapter 5 (Attachment 1), which has been amended in response to the feedback received during public consultation undertaken on the draft Chapter and Discussion Paper – Intensive Plant Agriculture (Attachment 2); and to seek its endorsement from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

 

Recommendation:

That Council:

1.       Adopt Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands (Attachment 1).

2.       Seek endorsement from NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment of Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands in accordance with the directions contained within the North Coast Regional Plan 2036.

3.       Notify Council’s decision to those who made a submission to draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands and Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture.

 

Report

Description of Item:

At Council’s Ordinary Meeting of 6 December 2018, it was resolved:

That Council:

1.   Proceed to community engagement through public exhibition of the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands until the end of February 2019.

2.   Note that a further report will be brought back to Council for consideration of the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands.

3.   Bring the Intensive Plant Agricultural Discussion Paper back to the Agricultural Advisory Committee for further consultation with a final timeline of March 2019.

4.   That the Intensive Plant Agricultural Discussion Paper be put on public exhibition after the further consultation with the Agricultural Advisory Committee.

In accordance with item 1 of that resolution, draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands was placed on public exhibition from 12 December 2018 until 28 February 2019. In accordance with item 3 of that resolution, further consultation was undertaken with the Agricultural Advisory Committee on the Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture. Council considered a report at its Ordinary Meeting of 28 March 2019 on the outcomes of the additional consultation undertaken with the Agricultural Advisory Committee, where it was resolved:

That Council:

1.   Note the Intensive Plant Agriculture Discussion Paper and Intensive Plant Agriculture Land Use Overview Table.

2.   Proceed to community engagement through public exhibition of the Intensive Plant Agriculture Discussion Paper in conjunction with the Intensive Plant Agriculture Land Use Overview Table; and simultaneous re-exhibition of draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands for a minimum period of 28 days.

3.   Note that a further report will be brought back to Council to present the outcomes of the public exhibition process, and for consideration of a final Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands.

In accordance with item 2 of that resolution, the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 5 Rural Lands and Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture were placed on public exhibition for an extended period from 4 April 2019 until 12 June 2019.

The purpose of this report is to present the outcomes of the public exhibition process undertaken in accordance with Item 3 of this resolution and to seek endorsement of the final Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands (hereafter referred to in this report as ‘Chapter 5’ and provided as Attachment 1), which has been amended in response to the feedback received during both public exhibition periods.

Issues:

At the conclusion of the two public exhibition periods, 237 public submissions (including one petition with over 300 signatures) and four Government agency submissions were received, in which a number of issues were raised. Twenty-five of the public submissions are duplicate submissions (i.e. identical submissions submitted for each of the two separate public exhibition processes). In accordance with Council’s Submission Policy, a petition or multiple submission received twice, is counted as one single submission. Therefore, 212 public submissions have been taken into consideration in finalising Chapter 5 (Attachment 2).

Agency Submissions

Agency submissions were made by the (former) NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), the (former) NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), the Department of Primary Industries – Agriculture and Fisheries and North Coast Local Land Services. Agency submissions made to Chapter 5 include a number of recommendations for Council to consider in finalising Chapter 5. These recommendations include the need to:

-     address relevant directions within the North Coast Regional Plan 2036 in more detail;

-     encourage agribusiness, tourist and visitor accommodation, ageing in place, and rural worker’s accommodation in suitable locations to minimise land use conflicts;

-     address the Biosecurity Act 2015 and biosecurity risks;

-     include additional detail in relation to the proposed development application process and assessment criteria for intensive plant agriculture within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape (including exempt criteria);

-     maintain a 40 hectare minimum lot size within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape to prevent further fragmentation of the agricultural resources;

-     ensure that permissible activities within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape do not increase the potential for land use conflict;

-     encourage a review of the Coffs Harbour Water Sharing Plan by the Natural Resource Commission; and

-     consider the use of important agricultural land mapping methodology to inform rural zones within the Coffs Harbour LGA.

The issues raised by Government agency submissions have been considered and Chapter 5 has been amended in response (where practical and where Council has statutory responsibility).

Public Submissions

Public submissions made to Chapter 5 and Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture raise a number of issues for Council to consider in finalising the chapter. These issues range in breadth and complexity, with the most significant issues relating to:

-     land use conflict, particularly impacts associated with intensive plant agriculture;

-     unauthorised clearing of native vegetation; and

-     appropriate rural zones and diversification of agricultural land uses.

·    Land Use Conflict – Intensive Plant Agriculture

Land use conflict associated with intensive plant agriculture was the most significant issue identified as part of the rural lands review process. A total of 105 submissions made to draft Chapter 5 and Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture identify significant concerns with environmental impacts associated with this land use and support regulation by Council through a development application pathway. A total of 33 submissions recommended improved compliance and regulation of this land use by NSW agencies with a statutory role in this space.

Issues associated with intensive plant agriculture noted in public submissions include: poor waste management; high water use; reduced water quality and soil contamination from inappropriate use and storage of chemicals, fertilisers, and pesticides; adverse visual impacts; unauthorised clearing of native vegetation; inadequate workers' accommodation and amenities; inadequate traffic and parking measures; spray drift (human health impacts); impact on drinking water catchments; poor design and location of farm infrastructure (i.e. dams); and impacts on cultural heritage values.

The toxicity and levels of agricultural chemicals associated with intensive plant agriculture were raised by 135 public submissions. This relates to the potential for declining water quality and waterway contamination through fertiliser runoff; and potential contamination from pesticide spray drift and inadequate chemical management. Public submissions note concerns in relation to pesticide spray drift from intensive plant agriculture adjacent to Sandy Beach Public School, Bonville Public School, and the Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, located in Bonville. There are currently no statutory requirements for the provision of buffers as part of intensive plant agriculture operations to protect adjacent land uses (including sensitive uses, such as schools and watercourses) from agricultural chemical spray drift.

A number of studies and investigations undertaken to obtain baseline data on the impacts associated with intensive plant agriculture support the benefits for regulation of this land use at a local level to mitigate the impacts associated with this intensive use of rural land on the community. The findings of these studies are detailed in Chapter 5 (Attachment 1). To address this sensitive issue within the community, Chapter 5 includes an action to require development consent for intensive plant agriculture within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape, with exempt provisions to enable well designed and low impact intensive plant agriculture development to be undertaken without the need for Council’s approval provided that certain criteria are met, such as (and noting that these criteria are yet to be set):

-     buffers and setbacks to non-related dwellings;

-     setbacks to watercourses;

-     protection of native vegetation;

-     adequate access and parking;

-     adequate staff amenities;

-     appropriate waste management;

-     appropriate stormwater management;

-     suitably located farm infrastructure (i.e. farm dams, dwellings, netting, chemical

-     storage areas); and

-     protection of high biodiversity and cultural heritage values.

Conversely, a total of 44 public submissions oppose the introduction of planning controls for intensive plant agriculture on the grounds that farming activities are highly regulated by other government agencies, and on the basis that adequate guidelines already exist, such as the voluntary Australian Blueberry Growers Association Code of Conduct. In such submissions it is outlined that the introduction of local planning controls would burden a farmer’s ability to quickly diversify crops and would reduce the total viable farming area through the introduction of buffer zones.

Chapter 5 contains an action to introduce a requirement for development consent for new intensive plant agriculture development within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape in recognition of the intensive nature of this land use, associated impacts that have been identified to date and the inconsistent application of voluntary codes and guidelines in mitigating impacts from this land use on the community. There are currently no other tools available to Council to achieve the provision of appropriate mitigation measures at this point in time. Chapter 5 also recommends that Council work with relevant industry and agency bodies to develop the exempt criteria for intensive plant agriculture within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape that supports the Australian Blueberry Growers Association Code of Conduct and best practice management guidelines for other types of intensive plant agriculture.

Public submissions also support regular testing and monitoring of intensive plant agriculture land uses to further identify impacts and mitigation measures. Chapter 5 has been updated to include an action to collaborate with NSW government agencies and universities to undertake additional investigations and studies in relation to environmental impacts associated with intensive plant agriculture.

·    Unauthorised Clearing of Native Vegetation

Public submissions indicate a desire to maintain the region’s biodiversity (including koala habitat). Land clearing (unauthorised or authorised) in rural areas is noted as a significant issue in public submissions due to the loss, fragmentation and degradation of vegetation. Chapter 5 identifies an analysis of 2018 aerial photography which has revealed that vegetated areas on land within Zone E2 Environmental Conservation under Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 has reduced by 82 hectares since 1996. While not all of this clearing is unauthorised, it is noted that horticulture has been established in many of these cleared areas and investigations are continuing in relation to this matter. The NSW government has also undertaken a comparison of 2009, 2014 and 2018 aerial imagery and has advised that approximately 180 hectares of vegetation has been cleared between 2009 and 2018 for intensive agriculture expansion.

In response to this issue, Chapter 5 has been updated to include actions to require compliance for any unauthorised clearing of native vegetation by both Council (within Zone E2 Environmental Conservation and Zone E3 Environmental Management), and by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape). Chapter 5 also includes an action to ensure sound baseline data is available through the review of environmental zones within the Coffs Harbour LGA.

·    Appropriate Rural Zones and Economic Diversification

There are a significant number of small rural land parcels (such as steep former banana lands) within the Coffs Harbour LGA that are being used predominantly for rural living purposes and due to their size do not support the scale required for extensive farming practices. Public submissions support the inclusion of an action to introduce appropriate zoning to protect important agricultural land, minimise land use conflict, and encourage horticultural or smaller-scale food production uses, where appropriate. In response to this issue, Chapter 5 includes an action to identify important agricultural land within the Coffs Harbour LGA to inform appropriate rural zones and permissible land uses within these zones.

Chapter 5 has also been updated to include actions to review and amend Council’s planning controls to permit further activities (i.e. artisan food and drink industries and a new definition titled ‘rural functions centres within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape) that support agricultural uses, allow economic diversification and enable ageing in place.

Options:

Council has a number of options available in relation to this matter. They include:

1.   Resolve to adopt the recommendations of this report.

2.   Resolve to undertake an alternative approach.

3.   Resolve not to adopt the recommendations of this report.

Option 1 is recommended as the suitable course of action.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

Chapter 5 seeks to address environmental issues currently being experienced within rural areas of the Coffs Harbour LGA. This reflects Council’s long term strategic vision for Coffs Harbour as endorsed in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan to “ensure that land use planning and development protects the value and benefits provided by the natural environment”.

•     Social

Chapter 5 seeks to address social impacts associated with living in rural communities. The recommended actions contained within Chapter 5 reflect Council’s long term strategic vision for Coffs Harbour in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan “to undertake development that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible”.

•     Civic Leadership

Civic leadership is demonstrated in this report by addressing the following objectives in Council’s My Coffs Community Strategic Plan 2017: B1.1 (We champion business, events, innovation and technology to stimulate economic growth, investment and local jobs); C2.1(We protect the diversity of our natural environment); and D1.2 (We undertake effective engagement and are informed).

•     Economic – Broader Economic Implications

The Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy aims to provide a coordinated, strategic and planned approach to cater for future growth. This will assist the orderly and efficient development of the city, and promote investment, economic activity and regional services. Sustainable and responsible development of the agricultural sector is considered an important component of Coffs Harbour’s growth, employment and income generation.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

Updating the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy is a Council initiative, and costs are included in Council’s Delivery Program. Some actions contained within Chapter 5 are not funded, therefore, implementation of these actions is subject to funding through either Council’s Delivery Program, grant applications or other initiatives. Section 5.7 of Chapter 5 (Attachment 1) identifies the cost implications to Council of resourcing the policy changes associated with adoption of the Chapter, particularly associated with the need for compliance resourcing to enforce the policy changes.

Risk Analysis:

Land use conflict within the rural community (particularly associated with intensive plant agriculture) is a significant ongoing issue for Council. Development of a rural lands chapter for Council’s Local Growth Management Strategy in consultation with the broader community, provides a framework and way forward for Council to manage such issues.

Currently Council has limited opportunity to assist in mitigating land use conflict associated with intensive plant agriculture as this land use does not currently require approval under Council’s local planning controls. If Council chooses not to support such recommendations, Council has limited ability to assist the community in managing and mitigating impacts associated with this land use, which has been identified as the most significant issue for rural lands at this point in time.

A risk for Council to note is recent legal clarification of netting structures associated with intensive plant agriculture on land within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape under Coffs Harbour LEP 2013. This legal clarification indicates that, dependent upon the merits of any given circumstance, such structures generally require development consent if the standards within State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 for farm buildings are not met. With the finalisation of a rural lands strategy for the LGA, Council will be requiring development applications for such netting structures moving forward.

Recent clarification of the planning framework has also identified that farm dams ('water storage facilities') also generally require development consent (i.e. approval from Council) on land within Zone RU2 Rural Landscape. An action has been included in Chapter 5 to provide exempt provisions for 'water storage facilities' (dams) on rural land to enable low impact dams to be constructed without the need for any Council approval.

Consultation:

A comprehensive community engagement framework has informed Chapter 5, including the facilitation of various community workshops, development of two issues and options papers, the establishment of an Agricultural Advisory Committee, and development of a discussion paper on intensive plant agriculture. Draft Chapter 5 was publicly exhibited over two exhibition periods between December 2018 and June 2019, including advertisements in local media, Council’s Have Your Say Page and social media. This consultation also targeted networks of resident groups, rural land stakeholders, environmental organisations, local community groups, industry groups and schools.

The Agricultural Advisory Committee met regularly to discuss and provide input into Chapter 5 and the Discussion Paper: Intensive Plant Agriculture. At the Agricultural Advisory Committee meeting of the 3 February 2020, committee members undertook a consultation exercise on Chapter 5. This consultation exercise enabled members of the committee to provide feedback on the recommendations and actions contained within a final draft version of Chapter 5 and on the prioritisation of such actions. Committee members were also able to identify actions that they do not support. Priority actions identified by the Committee relate to working with state government regulatory bodies; water use related issues; and improving information, promotion, communications and resources about local farming and agricultural practices. Common actions that some members of the Committee did not support relate to the introduction of planning controls for intensive plant agriculture and reviewing Council’s Koala Plan of Management.

Place Score

In early 2019, Council undertook extensive community consultation using the Place Score placemaking tool to understand community priorities and values. The top strength for the Coffs Harbour LGA identified as part of this consultation was “Elements of the Natural Environment”. Despite this strength, the community identified “Protection of the Natural Environment” in its top five priorities for improvement. The recommendations and actions contained within Chapter 5 will assist in meeting the community’s priority to protect the natural environment and biodiversity values within the Coffs Harbour LGA.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

A number of relevant policies and statutory documents have been considered in the preparation of Chapter 5 including: North Coast Regional Plan 2036, State Environmental Planning Policy (Primary Production and Rural Development) 2019, Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013, and Council’s My Coffs Community Strategic Plan.

Implementation Date / Priority:

Should Council resolve to adopt Chapter 5, endorsement from NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will be sought. Timeframes associated with this process are subject to the Department’s internal processes.

Conclusion:

Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapter 5 Rural Lands provides a strategic approach to ensuring that growth and development on rural lands is managed appropriately. The purpose of this report is to seek endorsement of the final Chapter 5 (Attachment 1), which has been amended in response to the feedback received during public consultation undertaken on the draft Chapter and Discussion Paper – Intensive Plant Agriculture (Attachment 2); and to seek its endorsement from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

 


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SC20/14       Draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands

Author:                        Senior Planner/Urban Designer

Authoriser:                  Director Sustainable Communities

MyCoffs:                      B.1 A thriving and sustainable local economy

Attachments:              ATT1  SC20/14   Draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands - March 2020

ATT2  SC20/14   Coffs Harbour Employment Lands Background Report  

 

Executive Summary

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 14 March 2019 resolved to endorse a revised scope for a review of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy to comprise a number of chapters relating to various land use types within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA), including an Employment Lands Chapter.

In 2019, Council engaged a consultancy to prepare draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands to guide industrial and business land development over the next twenty years. The purpose of this report is to seek Council’s endorsement to publicly exhibit draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands (Attachment 1) and the associated Coffs Harbour Employment Lands Background Report (Attachment 2).

 

Recommendation:

That Council:

1.     Endorse for public exhibition draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands (Attachment 1) and Coffs Harbour Employment Lands Background Report (Attachment 2) for a minimum period of 28 days.

2.     Note that a further report will be brought back to Council to present the outcomes of the public exhibition process, and for consideration of a final Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands.

 

Report

Description of Item:

Council at its Ordinary Meeting of 14 March 2019 endorsed a revised scope for the review of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy, to comprise a number of chapters relating to various land use types within the Coffs Harbour LGA, including an Employment Lands Chapter.

At that meeting, Council resolved to:

1.   Endorse the revised scope for the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy review process.

2.   Endorse the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapters 1 to 4,

3.   Proceed to community engagement through public exhibition of the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapters 1 to 4 for a minimum period of 28 days.

4.   Note that a further report will be brought back to Council for consideration of the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy – Chapters 1 to 4.

In accordance with item 1 of that resolution, consultants Hill PDA were engaged by Council in March 2019 to prepare draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands, which will guide industrial and business land development over the next twenty years. The final chapter is intended to replace the existing business and industrial lands component of Council’s Local Growth Management Strategy, including the Review of Coffs Harbour Business Centres Hierarchy document.

For clarity, it should be noted that the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) defines ‘employment land’ as any land within zones B5 Business Development, B6 Enterprise Corridor, B7 Business Park (this zone is currently not used in Coffs Harbour), IN1 General Industrial, IN2 Light Industrial (this zone is currently not used in Coffs Harbour), IN3 Heavy Industrial and IN4 Working Waterfront. Draft Chapter 8 Employment Lands, has deliberately defined ‘employment land’ more broadly, to ensure that all business and industrial land within the Coffs Harbour LGA is captured. The definition of employment land within draft Chapter 8 Employment Lands includes land within a ‘business centre’ or an ‘employment precinct’.  ‘Business centres’ include land within Zone B1 Neighbourhood Centre, Zone B2 Local Centre, Zone B3 Commercial Core, and Zone B4 Mixed Use. ‘Employment precincts’ include land within Zone B5 Business Development, Zone B6 Enterprise Corridor, Zone B7 Business Park (this zone is currently not used in Coffs Harbour), Zone IN1 General Industrial, Zone IN2 Light Industrial (this zone is currently not used in Coffs Harbour), Zone IN3 Heavy Industrial, and Zone IN4 Working Waterfront.

The purpose of this report is to seek Council’s endorsement to publicly exhibit draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands (referred to in the remainder of this report as ‘draft Chapter 8’ and provided as Attachment 1) and the associated Coffs Harbour Employment Lands Background Report (Attachment 2).

Issues:

·    Supply and demand for employment lands

Future employment in the LGA has been forecast having regard for global and regional trends and requirements, local employment needs and projected population. The Coffs Harbour LGA currently provides a total of around 525 hectares of employment land, consisting of 411 hectares within 'employment precincts' and a further 114 hectares within ‘business centres’.

The capacity and demand analysis in Chapter 8 determined that 73 hectares of ‘employment precinct’ land is undeveloped and that an additional land area of around 65 hectares of ‘employment precinct’ land would be required to accommodate the projected demand for the LGA to 2040. There is also capacity for the South Coffs Enterprise Area, particularly the Coffs Harbour Airport land, to accommodate a future employment precinct. Cross border servicing with neighbouring LGA’s of Bellingen, Clarence Valley and Nambucca is also identified as an opportunity due to improved connectivity with the Pacific Highway upgrades.

Of the existing 114 hectares of zoned land within business centres of the LGA, around 40,00m2 is undeveloped and around 33,000m2 is vacant. The supply and demand analysis has determined that an additional 52,500m2 of retail floor space and an additional 72,000m2 of business and office space would be required to accommodate projected demand within the Coffs Harbour LGA to 2040. This is addressed in draft Chapter 8 Employment Lands, which identifies that most of this additional floor space can be accommodated within exiting ‘business centres’. The draft chapter also identifies investigation areas in certain localities that could also be pursued if required to accommodate such growth.

·    Implementation of Coffs Harbour Business Centres Hierarchy

Draft Chapter 8 comprises a business centres hierarchy, which reaffirms the need for the Coffs Harbour City Centre to remain the primary retail and commercial centre for the region, providing administrative, civic, cultural, entertainment and larger employment generating uses. The hierarchy will also ensure that local centres and villages meet the day to day needs of local communities and do not detract business or trade from the Coffs Harbour City Centre.

·    Business centres renewal

Draft Chapter 8 identifies a number of barriers which are currently inhibiting development and renewal of business centres within the Coffs Harbour LGA, such as fragmented site ownership, lot configuration, and high land values (particularly within the Coffs Harbour City Centre). The draft Chapter notes that in some cases, Council’s built form controls and infrastructure contributions are excessive beyond current market demand, resulting in delayed development. In response to this, draft Chapter 8 recommends a review of Council’s local planning controls, the undertaking of financial feasibility assessments, and other initiatives to encourage and leverage commercial development.

·    Protect and strengthen employment precincts

Draft Chapter 8 identifies the need to protect and strengthen current industrial land uses within the Coffs Harbour LGA (particularly industrial and specialised retail land uses) to retain a reliable economic and employment base for the region over the next twenty years. It recommends that investigation areas (employment lands) identified within the existing Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy in Woolgoolga, South Bonville West and North Boambee Valley are retained. It also recommends that the following are investigated:

-     an enterprise park at the Aviation Drive precinct (providing a mix of business development / specialised retail uses; and light / general industrial uses);

-     employment precincts at key access points of the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass (based on environmental constraints and financial viability); and

-     appropriate locations for heavy and larger floor plate industrial use land opportunities with neighbouring LGAs.

·    Employment anchors partnerships

Draft Chapter 8 identifies capacity to improve economic benefits to the Coffs Harbour LGA through strategic partnerships with employment anchors within the South Coffs Enterprise Area such as the airport, university, stadium and hospital, as they play a significant role in enabling future employment growth by creating jobs, upskilling workers and attracting students and visitors. Recommended actions within draft Chapter 8 include agglomerating complementary uses; investigating employment precinct land to accommodate future demand; and strengthening connections through the South Coffs Enterprise Area.

·    Strategic transport investment

Draft Chapter 8 notes that the delivery of the Coffs Harbour Pacific Highway Bypass project will allow opportunities to revitalise the Coffs Harbour City Centre including improved connections between the City Centre, South Coffs Enterprise Area and the Jetty/Park Beach precincts. Investment in strategic transport connections can positively influence employment and housing growth patterns, enhance utilisation of employment lands, improve transport supply chains and attract further investment.

Options:

Council has a number of options available in relation to this matter. They include:

1.   Resolve to adopt the recommendations of this report.

2.   Resolve to undertake an alternative approach.

3.   Resolve not to adopt the recommendations of this report.

Option 1 is recommended as the suitable course of action.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

In considering the suitability of employment land, draft Chapter 8 has taken a number of principles into consideration to ensure environmentally sustainable growth in the Coffs Harbour LGA. This includes ensuring that land constraints (i.e. flooding, important agricultural land and biodiversity) are considered when evaluating suitable employment land. This reflects Council’s long term strategic vision for the City as endorsed in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan to “ensure that land use planning and development protects the value and benefits provided by the natural environment”.

•     Social

Draft Chapter 8 seeks to address social impacts associated with delivering employment land by aligning employment centres and business precincts with residential growth, in order to meet jobs and service needs of the growing population. The recommended actions contained within draft Chapter 8 reflect Council’s long term strategic vision for Coffs Harbour in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan “to undertake development that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible”.

•     Civic Leadership

Draft Chapter 8 demonstrates civic leadership by addressing the following objectives in the My Coffs Community Strategic Plan: B1.1 (We champion business, events, innovation and technology to stimulate economic growth, investment and local jobs); B1.2 (We attract people to work, live and visit in the Coffs Harbour LGA); and C1.2 (We undertake development that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible).

•     Economic – Broader Economic Implications

Draft Chapter 8 includes a number of actions that will facilitate and act on priorities set by the North Coast Regional Plan 2036 and the Coffs Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2022. These actions relate to managing and supporting economic growth in Coffs Harbour as a major regional centre, increasing and strengthening economic and strategic transport links with surrounding communities, delivering job opportunities that align with a growing population and maximising opportunities associated with the Pacific Highway connectivity, digital technology and employment anchors.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

Updating the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy is a Council initiative, and costs are included in Council’s Delivery Program. Some actions contained within Chapter 8 are not funded, therefore, implementation of these actions is subject to funding through either Council’s Delivery Program, grant applications or other initiatives. Section 8.12 of Chapter 8 (Attachment 1) identifies the cost implications to Council of resourcing the policy recommendations associated with adoption of the Chapter.

Risk Analysis:

Draft Chapter 8 will be placed on public exhibition prior to its final adoption by Council, thereby providing an opportunity for stakeholder and community engagement and thus reducing Council’s risk.

Consultation:

The consultants engaged to prepare draft Chapter 8 undertook consultation with businesses and stakeholders between June and August 2019, including a business survey, targeted stakeholder engagement, and an internal stakeholder workshop. Stakeholders included commercial real estate agents, business industry and State Government representatives.

Feedback was specifically elicited on the following matters:

-     customer / client catchment;

-     current business attributes and suitability;

-     future business needs (location and floor space); and

-     opportunities to improve performance within industrial precincts or business centres.

Placescore

In early 2019, Council undertook extensive community consultation using the Place Score placemaking tool to understand community priorities and values. The top most ranked strength for the Coffs Harbour LGA in this study is “Elements of the Natural Environment”. Place Score results identified that the second most important community strength for the LGA were locally owned and operated businesses. However, the quality and condition of public spaces, including access, safety, walking, cycling and public transport were identified as significant improvement priorities. Actions included within draft Chapter 8 seek to facilitate improved connectivity between business precincts and public realm improvements, to ultimately support local businesses within the Coffs Harbour LGA.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

The objectives of draft Chapter 8 are to assist in the delivery of the vision, aims and objectives of the North Coast Regional Plan 2036 and Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan. Draft Chapter 8 is required to be endorsed by NSW DPIE and will inform the preparation of future amendments to Coffs Harbour Local Environmental Plan 2013 and Coffs Harbour Development Control Plan 2015.

Implementation Date / Priority:

Should Council adopt the preferred recommendation of this report, public exhibition of draft Chapter 8 will be undertaken for a minimum period of 28 days. A further report will be put to Council to provide feedback on the outcomes of the public exhibition process and to seek endorsement of the final Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands. Should Council resolve to adopt the final Chapter, endorsement from NSW DPIE will be sought. Timeframes associated with this process are subject to the Department’s internal processes.

Conclusion:

Draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy - Chapter 8 Employment Lands provides a strategic approach to the sustainable delivery of employment land within the Coffs Harbour LGA over the next twenty years. The purpose of this report is to seek Council’s endorsement to exhibit draft Chapter 8 (Attachment 1) and associated Background Paper (Attachment 2) and seek feedback from the community and stakeholders.

 


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SC20/15       Draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement

Author:                        Section Leader Local Planning

Authoriser:                  Director Sustainable Communities

MyCoffs:                      D.1 Our leaders give us confidence in the future

Attachments:              ATT1  SC20/15   Draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement - March 2020  

 

Executive Summary

This report presents the draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement (‘the draft Statement’) to Council for endorsement for public exhibition (Attachment 1).

It identifies Council’s twenty year vision for land use planning within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA), and sets out planning priorities and actions to achieve this vision and the means to monitor and report on the delivery of the actions identified. The draft Statement has been prepared in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulations.

 

Recommendation:

That Council:

1.       Endorse for public exhibition draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement (Attachment 1) for a minimum period of 28 days.

2.       Note that a further report will be brought back to Council to present the outcomes of the public exhibition process following the public exhibition.

 

Report

Description of Item:

In March 2018, the NSW Government amended the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act) in a major overhaul of the State’s planning legislation to, among other changes, recognise the importance of strategic planning and the need for alignment between the NSW Government’s regional and district plans, and councils’ local plans, to manage projected population growth.

To ensure a link between regional plans and finer-grained planning at a local level, and to ensure consistency in strategic planning approaches, all councils in NSW are required to prepare a local strategic planning statement that meets requirements set out in Section 3.9 of the Act. The statement must include or identify:

a)    the basis for strategic planning in the area, having regard to economic, social and environmental matters,

b)    the planning priorities for the area that are consistent with any strategic plan applying to the area and (subject to any such strategic plan) any applicable community strategic plan under Section 402 of the Local Government Act 1993,

c)    the actions required for achieving those planning priorities, and

d)    the basis on which the council is to monitor and report on the implementation of those actions.

A draft Local Strategic Planning Statement has been prepared for the Coffs Harbour LGA (Attachment 1). It is consistent with the directions and actions contained within the North Coast Regional Plan 2036 and aligns with the North Coast Settlement Planning Guidelines 2019, both published by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE). It aims to outline how growth and change will be managed so as to maintain the high levels of liveability, environmental amenity and landscape quality that characterise Coffs Harbour.

Issues:

The draft Statement identifies the special characteristics that contribute to Coffs Harbour's local character and recognises that there are many shared community values which should be maintained and enhanced. It is intended as a ‘high order’ summary of contents of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy (some chapters of which have already been adopted by Council, others which are currently in draft stages). As such, it identifies 16 Planning Priorities in four themes to achieve Council's land use planning vision for the city to 2040. It also sets out the actions and the means for monitoring and reporting on these actions.

The draft Statement (and the Local Growth Management Strategy which underpins it) identifies some of the key land use planning challenges for Coffs Harbour LGA. These include post-bypass planning; providing for infill development in appropriate locations; providing a housing strategy for the LGA, including addressing housing affordability; improving the quality of our public realm and built form; attracting and retaining younger and working aged population groups (known as ‘Millenials’); facilitation of an economically sustainable long-term future for rural lands; addressing rural land use conflict; ensuring sufficient landstocks within the LGA for employment lands; and addressing a collaborative approach with neighbouring LGAs to meet housing needs, job opportunities, infrastructure and industry links.

Options:

1.    Accept the recommendations of this report to place the draft Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy (Attachment 1) on public exhibition.

2.    Reject the recommendation provided in this report.

This report recommends that Council undertake Option 1 as outlined.

Sustainability Assessment:

•     Environment

The draft Statement (and the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy which underpins it) provides for environmentally sustainable growth within the LGA to 2040. This reflects Council’s long-term strategic vision for the City as endorsed in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan and in line with the outcomes of the Place Score 2019 Report.

•     Social

Social impacts associated with managing socially sustainable increases in population growth to 2040, and evolving housing and accommodation needs, are addressed in the planning principles contained within the draft Statement and the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy which underpins it.

•     Civic Leadership

Civic leadership is demonstrated in this report by addressing many of strategic vision outlined in the MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan.

•     Economic – Broader Economic Implications

Coffs Harbour LGA provides a significant share of the region’s housing and jobs, and delivers a variety of high level services to the region. The draft Statement (and the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy which underpins it) provides a coordinated, strategic and planned approach to cater for future growth.

•     Economic - Delivery Program/Operational Plan Implications

Funds are allocated within the 2019/20 Operational Plan to allow for the preparation of the draft Statement. The draft Statement includes a number of actions to achieve the goals, directions and actions of the North Coast Regional Plan 2036, Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan, and Council’s Local Growth Management Strategy. Many of these actions are already included in Council’s adopted Delivery Program, however others will require resourcing through Delivery Programs in future years.

Risk Analysis:

Recent changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulations require regional NSW councils to have a Local Strategic Planning Statement adopted and uploaded to the NSW planning portal website by 1 July 2020. Proceeding to exhibition of the draft Statement at this time will allow sufficient time to meet this timeframe. If Council chooses not to proceed to exhibition of the draft Statement at this time, Council will not be able to achieve this legislative requirement.

Consultation:

The draft Statement is intended to be a ‘high order’ summary of contents of the Coffs Harbour Local Growth Management Strategy (some chapters of which have already been adopted by Council, others which are currently in draft stages). As such, extensive community consultation has been held with the community in recent years during the preparation of various chapters of Council’s Local Growth Management Strategy. Additionally, further consultation has been undertaken with the community during the preparation of both Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan and the Place Score survey in 2019.

It is now proposed to place the draft Strategy on public exhibition using a formal consultation process in accordance with Council’s Community Participation and Engagement Plan 2019.

Place Score

In early 2019, Council undertook extensive community consultation using the Place Score placemaking tool. This ‘place experience’ measurement tool enabled residents and visitors within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area to share what they most value in their neighbourhood and then to rate how their neighbourhood is performing against such values. The 2019 Place Score report was presented to Council on 11 April 2019. The draft Statement acknowledges the Place Score findings and outlines the importance of providing a strategic vision for land use planning for the LGA to 2040 to provide certainty to the community.

Related Policy, Precedents and / or Statutory Requirements:

All councils in NSW are required to prepare a local strategic planning statement that meets requirements set out in Section 3.9 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulation. For Coffs Harbour, this requires consistency with the NSW Government’s North Coast Regional Plan 2036 and the North Coast Settlement Planning Guidelines 2019; and with Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategic Plan (under section 402 of the Local Government Act 1993).

Implementation Date / Priority:

Regional NSW councils are required to have a Local Strategic Planning Statement adopted and uploaded to the NSW planning portal website by 1 July 2020. The final Statement will not take effect until it is published on the NSW planning portal.

Conclusion:

This report presents the draft Coffs Harbour Local Strategic Planning Statement (Attachment 1) to Council for endorsement for public exhibition. It identifies Council’s 20-year vision for land use planning within the Coffs Harbour Local Government Area (LGA), and sets out planning priorities and actions to achieve this vision and the means to monitor and report on the delivery of the actions identified. The draft Statement has been prepared in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Regulations.

 

 


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NOM20/04   Coastal Works Governance Framework

Attachments:          Nil

 

Motion:

Councillor Townley has given notice of her intention to move the following:

“That Council:

1.       Review the Instrument of Delegation affecting commercial activities of Coastal Works

2.       Review the Governance Protocols relating to the commercial activities of Coastal Works

3.       Include Councillor input into the above reviews

4.       Bring the updated documents back to Council for adoption."

 

Rationale:

“Documents framing the operations of Coastal Works commercial works were adopted by Council on 12 December 2013.  Many of the targets in the documents were left blank at the time of adoption. It is questionable as to whether reporting targets have been consistently met. In any case, several years have elapsed since the documents were adopted.

 

Recent Council resolutions reduced the General Managers authority to enter contracts on behalf of Coastal Works commercial works from $15M to $250K.

 

Given the ambiguity of the documents, and the time since adoption, it is timely to actively review and report on the governance frameworks surrounding Coastal Works. Councillors have shown strong interest in these matters and there is a need for transparency for the public, who are essentially shareholders and beneficiaries of Coast Works commercial activities.”

Staff Comment:

A review of the Governance Protocols and Delegations relating to the operations of the Coastal Works commercial business unit was undertaken during January/February 2020. At its meeting of 21 February 2020 the Coastal Works Advisory Board endorsed the review for reporting to Council.

 

The results of that review have not yet been reported to Council and could be incorporated into the reviews requested in the NOM.