Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

A not too widely understood fact is Council does not have control over what development is approved, and what is not.

Council’s development dilemma is that this misunderstanding has several in our community believe we (Council) are hypocrites. Spruiking one thing, approving the opposite.

We are out there, for instance, spruiking the need to save trees from the activities of developers. But trees are being approved for removal by what is seen as Council. You could almost say it is the antithesis of Multum in Parvo.

The fact is developments are not approved by Council. Council is responsible for administering the process. They are therefore identified in such a way that allows people to believe Council is accountable for the decision.

Under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 an Officer employed by Council but responsible to the Minister for Planning is responsible. The Council Assessment Panel is also responsible, not to Council, but to the Minister. Importantly, they are charged with making decisions on applications before them that are not seriously at variance with the Planning & Design Code.

So! We have been spruiking the need to protect trees on private property that is subject to redevelopment. The reason we are doing this is that the Planning & Design Code does not do enough to protect trees.tree canopy cover

We can’t change the Code. Only the Minister can do this. We are therefore lobbying the current Minister, Nick Champion, to facilitate such a change.

In the meantime, the people and the panel mentioned above, both associated with Council, are and must make decisions that are diametrically opposed to our philosophy. A philosophy of protecting our tree canopy cover.

Council’s development dilemma is therefore one of my election commitments. Should you re-elect me, I will lead the fight to the Minister. This is a must if we want to save and increase our tree canopy cover.

One, to get the Code changed. Two, to seek your approval and that of the Minister to use rates as a lever to encourage developers to leave our trees alone. More so planting trees as part of their development, that have the potential to create meaningful canopy cover.

This article was written & authorised by Don Palmer. 19 Kelvin Avenue, Clarence Park.