On 26 March, the Forum Committee sent a deputation to all councillors expressing serious concerns about the significant adverse impacts of the DPE Agritourism proposals >> Agritourism Deputation 26 Mar 2022

One of our concerns was that construction of a function centre with a 200 sqm floor area or multiple buildings up to 500 sqm would be allowed with no Council involvement

Three farmers from Kangaroo Valley were equally concerned about the DPE proposals, stating –
“This proposal seeks to make significant state-wide top-down amendments to agritourism regulations, bypassing the local Councils who have expert knowledge of their local communities. Councils have been offered tokenistic gestures to create the impression that they have meaningful input into the final legislation. However, the gestures and terms used are insufficient to preserve our prime rural land and will result in Shoalhaven Council being dragged through the Land and Environment Court for many years to come.”

After discussions with the farmers, the Forum Committee contacted Clr White and Ward 1 councillors the day before the Council meeting and stressed –

“It is essential that function centres, with no constraints or safeguards for the community, continue to be prohibited in rural zones. The DPE must be forced to address legitimate concerns and provide proposals that reflect a truly balanced approach.
Please ensure that Farm experience premises is designated as a Prohibited use in RU1 & RU2 zones. If the Farm gate premises optional clause standards do not apply to complying development, then it should also be designated as a Prohibited use.”
At the Council meeting on 28 March, Clr Patricia White proposed that the Department of Planning’s Agritourism proposal should be rejected, based on the content of our request. Her motion was seconded by Clr John Wells and supported by Ward 1 councillors Tonia Gray and Serena Copley. Councillors voted unanimously in support of rejection.