In an article headed Court agrees climate-change risk rules out housing plan
The Sydney Morning Herald (January 8, 2008) reports:
"Many may be pleased to know the Land and Environment Court can overturn not just a council decision but a ministerial one.
The court recently ruled invalid a concept plan approved by the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, for a controversial residential subdivision and retirement complex at Sandon Point, on the coast near Wollongong. The action was brought by a resident, Jill Walker.
The court agreed the department should have considered the flooding risk from climate change as it was an aspect of the public interest that potentially had a bearing on the justice of the decision.
The decision is a win for residents who have been protesting for years against the development of the flood-prone 25-hectare site by Stockland Development and Anglican Retirement Villages.
Deacons Lawyers said councils would have to ensure risks from climate change in flood-constrained coastal areas had been addressed by developers and that they considered such risks in their decisions."Comment:
The land at West Yamba is flood-prone. Allowing further development in the area will require fill being obtained from elsewhere in order to raise the area above designated ASL requirements. That may solve current problem associated with the West Yamba site but one doesn't have to be Einstein to understand that water which would normally find its way to this naturally occurring flood storage area in times of heavy rainfall will be diverted elsewhere. And just where is elsewhere? Think about it. Land that is currently occupied and considered flood free will not necessarily carry such a tag in the future.
Yes, further development at West Yamba will create a new set of winners (just think 'developers and their associates'), but there'll also be a crew of losers who'll be up the creek without paddles in times of high local rainfall and/or flooding that results from waters flowing downstream from the catchment area.
Clarence Valley Council should have this matter uppermost in its collective mind. So too, should Minister Frank Sartor and all others who will be called upon to give consideration to any hair-brained proposals to develop West Yamba.
Remember, the law attaches great significance to the concept of precedence. Hence, this decision of the Land and Environment Court has implications for West Yamba.