Minutes of the Berry Forum Meeting
Held at the School of Arts on Thursday 10th December 2015 at 7.30pm

Present: 65 residents and ratepayers. Federal Member Ann Sudmalis and Councillors Joanna Gash (Mayor), John Wells, Lynne Kearney & Patricia White.
Apologies: Committee members Laurie Watson, John Underwood, Hania Norman and John Cullity.

Welcome and Introduction (David Carter – Chair)

Administrative Matters (Stuart Coughlan – Secretary)
Minutes of the Forum Meeting held on 8 October – Approved.
Financial Report – Current balance of funds is $1368.
Correspondence – Two CCB Newsletters and an advice of Local Govt. Reforms received

Strategic Plan Update (James Robinson, Chair Strategic Plan Sub-committee)

  • The Sub-Committee has 8 members, 4 of whom also sit on the main Committee. Several meetings have been held, including two workshops with council.
  • The Sub-Committee charter clarifies that it is not a decision making body
  • The consultant brief has been sent to Council so the selection process can begin and the consultant can come onboard in Jan/Feb.
  • Communication to residents regarding the engagement process will be sent out before Xmas via a letterbox drop across the Berry region.
  • A Visitor/Tourist survey will be distributed before Xmas to B&Bs and businesses and also at New Year’s Eve fireworks. This survey is paper based and seeks qualitative not quantitative information.
  • A survey for residents will be issued after Xmas, both paper-based and online. The Consultant will perform analysis of the survey data.
  • The Strategic Plan is scheduled to complete in September and be submitted to Council for approval.

Berry Trails Project (Derek Jorgensen)

  • Trail routes covering around 210 kms have been identified, using non-private land.
  • There are three “Proof of Concept” trails, being Seven Mile Beach National Park, Swamp Road and the paper road connection between Boundary Road and Tindalls Lane – detailed plans will be developed for presentation by end of February 2016.
  • Discussions have commenced with NSW National Parks who support development of the trail connecting Shoalhaven Heads to the northern end of Seven Mile Beach National Park using a current “informal path”.
  • Contact has been made with both Manildra and RMS in relation to the development of trails inside the rail corridor and along the new Princes Highway alignment.
  • Ann Sudmalis has advised that the ‘Green Army’ (a Federal Government initiative) potentially could be utilized to assist in the construction of the trails.

Berry Cemetery (June Robson, Historical Society)

  • SLEP 2014 notes Berry General Cemetery as having Heritage significance and Council are seeking its listing on the State Heritage list. June has spent two years researching and writing the history of the cemetery to support the listing application.
  • Council has prepared a Strategic Management Plan for all Shoalhaven cemeteries and is calling for tenders for a Conservation Management plan for Berry Cemetery.
  • It was agreed that the Forum‘s support for the conservation management project and inclusion of the cemetery on the State Heritage list should be communicated to Council.

George Street Land parcel (Margret Street, Garden Club)

  • RMS and Council have begun talks to formulate a management proposal for the residual RMS land at the bottom of George St and the land along North Street. The two parcels of land will be joined into the one town park and the revised Master Plan will reflect this.
  • Fulton Hogan is completing the noise abatement mound work and is likely to begin soon on the filling and contouring of the George St land, liaising with both Garden Club and Council.
  • Council will arrange the slashing of the privet and other weed trees along the water channel, and Fulton Hogan will spray grass seed on the filled areas.
  • Trees in the George St. area will be planted by the Garden Club and a Park Care group (to be established). Any help from interested community members will be most welcome.
  • Margaret thanked Clr. Wells for his continuing active support for the project.


Mt Hay and Rockfield Park Decisions (Clr. Patricia White, Chair Development Committee)

  • The process for assessing DAs within Council was explained. Details can be found on Council’s website under Planning & Building/ Development/ What happens after lodging my DA?
  • Hay – Councilors rejected the staff recommendation and refused the DA. The applicant has now lodged an appeal with the Land and Environment Court.
  • Rockfield Park – Both Councilors and the JRPP accepted the staff recommendation to refuse the DA. The applicant has intimated he will submit a new DA however.
  • Beach Road – Council has 90 days to review planning proposals which request rezoning of land, before a ‘gateway’ decision is made allowing the request to be considered by the Dpt. of Planning. Residents are encouraged to write to councilors about their concerns. The CCB should be advised of a planning proposal.
  • Council staff have responsibility for the review process, but councilors can request a residents briefing or extension of the submissions period. A request was made that developers be asked to engage with the CCB prior to submitting development applications.
  • Residents thanked Clr. White for her hard work, attention to detail and pursuit of fair outcomes.

Planning Proposal for 510 Beach Rd (David Carter)
The context for the Committee’s decision to make a submission to Council was provided –

  • The Forum Committee is not anti-development.
  • In this case, Council staff had not informed the Forum of a planning proposal on public exhibition, which included a major rezoning. The Committee had only a few days to consider a 160-page proposal before the submission period closed.
  • An initial review identified major areas of concern relating to –
  • The proposed rezoning of RU1 and E2 land
  • Disregard for the Shoalhaven Growth Management Strategy
  • Adverse impacts on the Coomonderry swamp wetland area
  • The land is in the middle of the Berry Wildlife Corridor
  • The 46 proposed residential blocks are significantly smaller than the lot sizes in Campbells Run and Berry Beach Estate

The Forum members present endorsed the content of the Committee’s submission.

Planning Proposal for 510 Beach Rd (Omar & Barbara Khalifa)
Concerns of affected residents were explained. These included the number and small size of the proposed lots, impact of sewage, high density of the development and the proximity of some of the lots to Coomonderry swamp.

General Business
Federal member Ann Sudmalis advised that she had secured the funding for the School of Arts building renovation work, and also that grants may be available for some of the Berry Trails Project work.
Philip Thorniley proposed a vote of thanks for the Committee for the work it had done in creating a successful community forum.

Meeting closed 8:55pm.

Next Meeting is 11 February at 7.30pm in the Pavilion Hall at the Showground.