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Patsy’s submission to local strategic planning statement

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Armidale Regional Council’s draft Local Strategic Planning Statement.

I think this plan needs significant revision because it appears to have been written based on earlier circumstances and documents. It does not take into account the severity of the drought, the frightening fires and smoke, the constraints throughout the region from unprecedented water shortages exacerbated by increased evaporation and land clearing, as well as Council’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency.

Action, not statements are required. We need actions that both help to mitigate and adapt to climate change. This awareness must inform all aspects of Council’s planning.

Three things stand out to me in the current document:

  1. Growth: the document supports both the inevitability of growth and its desirability. There is little or no mention of potential constraints on growth.
    1. Population growth creates, at the least:
      1. Increased demand for water
      2. Increased need for local government services, including: regional health, education, social, recreational and cultural services.
  • Increased need for local produce
  1. Increased need for jobs and appropriate businesses
  2. Increased residential land
  1. Increased Horticulture requires water resources beyond what we had during the drought.
    1. Sinking bores may be a short term solution but in the long term will lower the water table affecting both agriculture and natural resources.
    2. Our water is a bottleneck. Its impact hasn’t been significantly considered.
  2. The significance of Council’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency:
    1. Recognition of a Climate Emergency entails acceptance of the science pointing to rising global temperatures and the urgency that that entails.
    2. Recognition of the possible, in fact probable, impacts of climate change on our region must inform a discussion not only of the environmental impacts such as increased drought, fires, flooding, water shortages, and decreasing bio-diversity but also its impact throughout our community, for example on outdoor summer sports and playgrounds, on mental health, energy consumption and generation, building codes and more.
  3. Zero30, a collaboration between UNE and ARC to ensure our region makes no additional contribution to global temperature rise by 2030.
    1. In the Local Strategic Planning Statement there is insufficient evidence that ARC has considered what this will mean, what path this will require.
    2. This needs to be incorporated throughout the plan because it is a significant commitment. It entails not only such things as electricity use and energy efficiency but also transport, the built environment, agriculture, sewerage and waste facilities, procurement practices and so on through the Council’s responsibilities and resources.

 

On another note: I wonder about incorporating more information about potential regional partners such as National Parks and how we might work more closely with them to foster ecological benefits but also tourism and local recreation.

Patsy Asch: 157 Barney Street, Armidale NSW 2350

22 September 2020

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