Draft Minutes of the Berry Forum Meeting
Held 10 October 2019 7:30pm at the Berry School of Arts

Present: 125 people, including Clr John Wells and Deputy Mayor Patricia White

Welcome and Introduction (David Carter – Chairman)
Minutes of the meeting held 15 August were approved.

Donation of Artwork
Coralie Bell from Council advised the Forum about a proposed donation of a set of bronze ducks sculpture for installation at Alexandra Street Park. The community can provide feedback until 24 October.

Draft Planning Proposal 55 Wire Lane
A presentation was made on behalf of the landowner outlining the application for rezoning 40ha lot alongside Beach Road from rural to residential. Comments from the floor questioned the agricultural capability constraints listed in the proposal, including soil fertility and water supply, and referred to previous advertising of the lot as “fertile farmland regularly pasture improved”. The validity of the information included in the Water Cycle Management report was also challenged.

The Berry Corridor
David Rush, who is the Project Officer for the Berry Bush Links (a Berry Landcare and National Parks Association project) described activities such as tree planting to connect patches of bush to create corridors for wildlife. He talked about threatened plant and animal species, ecological communities and patches of native habitat. He also explained the problems caused by subdivisions of land, especially alongside Beach Road which is a critical part of the wildlife corridor.

‘Temporary’ function centres
At the Development Committee meeting on 1 October councillors refused the Strongs Rd DA based on the Land & Environment Court ruling that states there should be an absence of adverse impact when an applicant relies on LEP Clause 2.8 – ‘Temporary Use of Land’. Council had been advised of the ruling by the Forum.

The tourist organisation Destinations Sydney Surrounds South (DSSS) is undertaking research into the growth of destination weddings and business conferences in rural areas and the impact any changes to Clause 2.8 would have on the availability of temporary function centres in the Shoalhaven. They are planning to pursue the Department of Planning on this matter. Management of DSSS was invited to present to the Forum, but declined the invitation. The Forum voted unanimously in support of the Committee taking action to preserve the protection of Clause 2.8(3).

Council Community Information Session
Council is conducting reviews of the LEP and DCP relating to Tourist Accommodation issues and Clause 2.8 Temporary Use of land and will be holding an Information Session on Wednesday 13 November from 4pm to 6pm at Council Chambers.

Proposed Short Term Rental Accommodation Legislation
Deputy Mayor Patricia White briefed the Forum on the key points contained in Council’s submission to the State Government on the proposed regulatory framework.

Multi Dwelling DA for Parker Crescent Huntingdale
A resident of Parker Crescent addressed the meeting on concerns relating to the proposed subdivision and construction of five dwellings on a half acre lot. Issues included disregard for the intent of the original developer and Council to restrict the large lots on the periphery of the estate to single dwellings; major adverse impacts on neighbouring properties; and the dangerous precedent that the development would create.

Clr. John Wells also addressed the meeting and referred to the 50+ submissions opposing the DA, including one from the current developer Pindan. Following the meeting, Clr. Wells wrote to Council’s Director of Planning requesting a formal Residents Briefing be held for the Berry community. He also obtained an assurance that submissions will be accepted until Council’s assessment is completed.

Forum Correspondence
Available on the Forum website under News updates.

General Business
A resident of Princess Street provided the Forum with his submission raising concerns about the inadequacy of car parking for the maximum number of guests proposed for the refurbished Gabby’s function centre.

The Chairman’s and Treasurer’s Reports were endorsed.
The Committee nominations of Heather Macdonald and all existing members were confirmed.

Meeting closed 9pm
Next Forum Meeting – December 12