From the Newsroom

‘A great step’ towards a West Yamba master plan

Geoff Helisma



Clarence Valley’s councillors have supported a notice of motion (NOM), to address “problems”, as Cr Greg Clancy put it, caused by development on the West Yamba flood plain.

Cr Steve Pickering tabled the NOM, which he says was motivated by community members speaking to him about various issues and pointing out there was no master plan.

“Scores of people said, ‘there is no integration of different developments’,” he said at the April 26 Clarence Valley council (CVC) meeting.

Councillors, apart from Cr Clancy, supported the “creation of a West Yamba Masterplan document, to guide sustainable development and infrastructure integration within the greater Yamba township”.

However, when and how this will occur will depend on the outcome of the second part of Cr Pickering’s NOM: the preparation of a “brochure” that aims to summarise, simplify and “make more understandable” … “the planning vision and relevant development assessment criteria for the West Yamba Urban Release Area (WYURA)”.

The draft brochure will be compiled by staff and presented to a future council meeting, where “endorsement of the WYURA information document … will be sought … prior to publication”.

Cr Peter Johnstone asked acting general manger Laura Black to comment on the changes to Cr Pickering’s NOM, given the many reservations she raised in the report to council.

She said it was modified after Cr Pickering “had a conversation with the manager of planning, and he is comfortable with this as a motion; and we believe it is achievable.

“The only difference [to the original NOM] is I just tidied it up a little, that’s all that’s happened; it’s fine.”

Speaking to his NOM, Cr Pickering said staff had “pointed to Part X of the DCP [development control plan] WYURA”.

“And after reading that,” he said, “it seemed like a really good vision; all the information was there, but it possibly hadn’t been stuck to as rigorously as it probably could have been.

“…The intention behind this is to make a document … to make it readable for … people, generally … but also to highlight areas of concern.”

Cr Clancy wasn’t convinced that the two-step NOM would “solve all of the problems”.

“It is more or less just having an information report that explains what the existing situation is.

“…We, as a council, need to address the West Yamba issues with a real master plan, not this outdated and haphazard information that we’ve got.

“We need studies; that’s why we need funding from federal or state government to do proper studies, so that we [make] a master plan that will actually address the real issues.”

Cr Clancy moved an amendment, “to prepare a framework for a master plan for West Yamba and to seek funding”, however, there was no seconder.

After the meeting, Cr Clancy acknowledged that the “brochure” was a “step in the right direction”.

Cr Bill Day said he “believed what Cr Pickering has proposed will allow everyone to clearly see what the issues are” and that Cr Clancy’s failed amendment would be “the next stage”.

“I don’t want to see any great delay in between stage 1 and stage 2,” he said, hoping “to see the report next month”.

Cr Karen Toms was critical of Cr Clancy’s debate, for highlighting, “…the nine years of truck movements, which are wrecking people’s homes, wrecking the roads – [and] that’s all [allowed] by this Part X.”

Cr Toms said, “They [trucks] go there with the DAs; they are all legal things already in place [in the DCP WYURA].

“We are not in a position to change all of that, as a council, I apologise if I’m out of line.

“I think this is a great start to explain how it is now … but if we want to change to a different frame work, a different master plan, that’s way beyond the realms of what we can do as a council, but I apologise if I’m way off the mark.”

In his right of reply, Cr Pickering said, “This is the great first step.

“I understand what Cr Clancy says about expanding on it, but that’s not what this motion is about.

“To expand it, to change it, we would need to review the LEP [local environment plan] and the DCP; and there’s no reason why that can’t happen, but it’s not a part of this motion.”

The Independent sought clarification from the mayor, Ian Tiley, whether or not the decision would, in fact, result in a West Yamba master plan – to which he replied, “Absolutely.”