Draft Minutes of the Berry Forum Meeting
Held 12 May 2022, 7:30pm at the Berry School of Arts

Present: 76 people attended including Ward 1 Councilors Mathew Norris, Serena Copley Tonia Gray, and Patricia White and Liza Butler (Ward 3)
Apologies: John Wells

Welcome and IntroductionStuart Coughlan, Secretary
Minutes from meeting held March 17 2022 – Approved

Shoalhaven Road Damage Status: Trevor Dando
Trevor Dando, Council’s Department Manager for Works & Services, provided an update on the status of damage and ongoing repairs –

  • Overview of what has been repaired and still needs repairing, potholes, damaged sites, major land slips and costs
  • Natural Disaster declared to access government funding
  • Timeline of two years to complete all the repairs
  • Major Disaster website established for residents to view ongoing progress and report concerns
  • Limited number of contractors and engineers available for tender of work
  • Wattamolla landslip – plans to give one-way access in one week

Questions and comments from attendees referred to –
– filling potholes with cold mix and finding the same holes requiring repairing again soon.
– poor drainage on the side of roads being a major contributor to damage
– Wattamolla residents have proposed to privately fund a road to bypass the slip
– Trevor admitted that current efforts were mostly ‘Band-Aids’ until funds and resources are available.

DA for Tourist Facility in Bong Bong Road
The proponent’s architect gave a presentation on key aspects of the DA, which remains essentially unchanged from the original DA that was withdrawn.

A resident referred to the minutes of the initial pre-lodgement meeting with Council planners, where the proponents had asked about the size (257 sqm) and operating hours of the proposed function centre and a later subdivision, and asked why these critical issues had been omitted from the DA. The resident stated the floor area of the function centre would be 50% larger than the main hall of the School of Arts.

The owners of two adjoining properties then addressed the meeting with a presentation that highlighted the beauty and current peaceful nature of the proposed site and Bong Bong Road. They described the significant adverse impacts the development would have on the amenity and safety of residents and the walkers and cyclists who regularly use Bong Bong Road. The proposed development, including multiple buildings and a significant amount of infrastructure, was superimposed onto an image of the current site to illustrate their contention of overdevelopment.  The DA will be lodged shortly.

Planning & Development
Council’s new Director City Development, James Ruprai, spoke to the meeting and expressed his intention to work closely with the community on development matters.

The following proposals have been sent to Council, with a request that planning staff resources be assigned to work on them as a high priority –

  • Requested Amendment to SLEP – Managing the Impacts of Tourist Development in Berry & Kangaroo Valley
  • An additional Heritage Conservation Area (HCA)
  • Development Control Plan (DCP) for Berry

An update was also provided on Councillors’ unanimous rejection of the Department of Planning’s Agritourism proposals, which would have made function centres permissible in all rural areas, without the need for Council approval.

General Business: None

Meeting closed at 9:10 pm

Next Forum Meeting – 21 July 2022