Date: 11
th
March 2010
Dear Councillors
Urban sprawl still on the move
As a 5 minute deputation was insufficient time to fully express our concerns in relation to the
Mountain View proposal, we have decided a follow-up letter is appropriate.
It seems that, despite widespread acknowledgment of the environmental impacts of urban sprawl by
town planners across the country, nothing can stop this cancerous growth. Council staff have
recommended the approval of the 43 lot rural residential development at Mountain View which
would effectively extend Grafton's residential footprint by two kilometres beyond its current fringe.
The Clarence Environment Centre had presented a submission opposing the development on
numerous grounds, and we also mad a deputation at the site visit because we saw many of Councils
responses to our concerns could not be supported. Those issues are:
Power Lines
No fewer than 3 power lines already cross the development site. Council's response to expressed
health concerns is: “There is no firm evidence to suggest these are a danger to public health"
We've heard the same argument about tobacco, Asbestos, and recently about triazine based
herbicides, which are widely used in local plantations. Council however, fails to take a responsible
precautionary approach, claiming “the power lines are highly visible to buyers", and “lots are
large enough to contain the house site away from the power lines." People are not restricted to their
homes, and children, young children, will play under those lines, but who cares, because there is no
“firm evidence" that their playful activities may lead to cancer or other problems in the future.
Mid North Coast Regional Strategy
Council responds to our concerns that the site lies outside the growth areas identified in the
Regional Strategy, by stating the subdivision “appears to be in proposed employment lands". From
this it seems Council can't make up its mind what the land's status is, but how the possibility of its
being identified for industrial use can be used to justify a residential development, is unclear. If this
land is an area identified by the Regional Strategy for industrial use, this residential subdivision will
eventually end up in the middle of it, with some predictable consequences.
The Regional Strategy's main aim was to reduce urban sprawl by identifying growth areas (in the
main) adjacent to existing population hubs, close to public transport and other facilities. We argued
that outlying developments, without public transport, force families to become multiple car owners,
all commuting considerable distances (30km round trip to Grafton from Mountain View), with
considerable greenhouse gas implications.
Council's only response that “It is not unusual for land zoned for rural residential purposes to be
located in a rural setting", while unfortunately true, completely misses the point, and ignores the
emissions issue.
CLARENCE ENVIRONMENT CENTRE
31 Skinner Street
South Grafton 2460
Phone/ Fax: 02 6643 1863