20 year plan benefits from community consultation

While appeals by property owners to include additional pieces of land in Kiama’s new Local Strategic Planning Statement (LSPS) – which amongst other things has assumed the role of the Kiama Urban Plan on its repeal – were not successful, other points raised during the public exhibition period have been incorporated into the document.

The LSPS (a new requirement for NSW councils) sets out:

  • the 20-year vision for land use in the local area
  • the special characteristics which contribute to local identity
  • shared community values to be maintained and enhanced
  • how growth and change will be managed into the future.

“All of Council’s land use planning decisions – anything to do with the Local Environment Plan and the Development Control Plan – will have to be framed within the LSPS,” says Ed Paterson, Council’s Manager Strategic Planning.

“These strategies and actions will be incorporated into future operational plan and delivery programs.”

The exhibition period also led to an organisational restructure, to base the document around five themes (see at end of article).

“We thought it showed a better line of sight to distil the vision down to five dot points as its summary,” says Mr Patterson.

“They really summarise the one and a half year journey we have been on and the vision statement of the LSPS.”

The exhibition period also resulted in a refinement of the actions outlined in the LSPS, by making them more specific and giving them a timeframe.

“The previous actions were written in a vaguer way, but comments from the community were that we need to understand what this means: what are we going to see at the end of that action period?

“We took that onboard and made the action plans reflect that concern.”

Actions supporting the priorities were reconsidered and expanded upon.

“The planning priorities around adapting to climate change and protecting our environment have been fleshed out more, including the new action of preparing and implementing an urban greening strategy,” says Mr Paterson.

He is very pleased with the final document.

“We haven’t done strategic planning work at this Council for quite a long time.

“We’ve been too reactive, and I think this is a step in the right direction.”

It is hoped that the Kiama LSPS will be reflected in the Illawarra Regional Strategic Plan, which is currently being worked on.

“It is a really exciting time for our story to feed up into a wider context,” says Mr Paterson.

A living document, the LSPS will be reviewed when preparing the Community Strategic Plan of the new Council, after the 2021 election.

Timeframes nominated for actions will be reviewed each year as part of the planning works program linked to Council’s Operational Plan.

“It is going to be really interesting to see how Council’s other plans evolve to tie in with this and embrace it,” says Mayor Mark Honey.

General Manager Kerry McMurray sees the LSPS as a credit to both the community and the Council.

“There has been extensive consultation, and it is representative of the views and aspirations of the community.

“We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we engaged the community.

“It clearly articulates where we want to be and what we want to look like moving forward.”

With regards to the submissions for new greenfields sites to be included in the LSPS, Mr Paterson says, “We felt it wasn’t appropriate to consider new greenfield sites at this time, without proper public consultation.”

Our Municipality’s guiding planning themes for the next 20 years
These five themes, each with their listed planning priorities, summarise and encapsulate the 20 year vision of the Kiama Local Strategic Planning Statement.

Theme 1: Manage sustainable growth
Plan for and balance housing supply and demand
Champion architectural excellence
Connect the Municipality
Support the delivery of required infrastructure

Theme 2: Develop a diverse and resilient economy
Foster economic diversity
Manage tourism development and the visitor economy
Strengthen commercial centres

Theme 3: Protect rural landscapes
Protect viable agriculture and agricultural lands
Protect scenic rural landscapes

Theme 4: Mitigate and adapt to climate change and protect our environment
Conserve areas of environmental significance
Responsibly manage resources and waste
Plan for and adapt to the impacts of natural hazards and the changing climate

Theme 5: Foster vibrant and accessible places
Support and create vibrant places
Identify and safeguard areas and items of heritage significance
Celebrate and protect local character

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