Gunnedah Shire Council approves Curlewis Common Road koala plan of management

DISCUSSION: Councillors approved the proposed development's koala plan of management at Wednesday's council meeting. Photo: Billy Jupp
DISCUSSION: Councillors approved the proposed development's koala plan of management at Wednesday's council meeting. Photo: Billy Jupp

A plan to prevent any impact on local wildlife during a house rebuild has been given the tick of approval by Gunnedah Shire Council.

The plan was submitted along with a planning application for the demolition and rebuild of a private residence on Curlewis Common Road.

During the application progress, a koala plan of management (KPoM) was developed by Stewart Surveys to ensure the project had little impact on local wildlife.

Councillors voted to accept the plan at Wednesday’s July council meeting.

The council’s director of planning and environmental services, Andrew Johns, told the meeting the plan was necessary given the location is in the shire’s “core koala country”.

“It’s actually an interesting development application,” Mr Johns said.

“What’s interesting about it is that it is not for a brand new property, rather the demolition and rebuild of an existing house.”

Mr Johns said the application and the plan met with the environmental criteria.

“After reviewing the application and the KPoM, everything does meet planning standards,” he said.

“The dwelling is at least 50-metres from any recent koala activity and that process of reviewing recent koala activity has been completed.” 

Cr Owen Hasler questioned the KPoM during Wednesday’s meeting.

“I appreciate the application and the plan have been done to minimise any potential impact the project may have on koalas,” Cr Hasler said.

“But the question I have is, are we as a council, going to in any way, monitor the progress of the project to ensure the plan is adhered to?

“I suppose a follow up question on top of that one would be, how do we know that everyone is adhering to the plan?”

 Mr Johns said council would be notified if any infringements had taken place during the projects development.

“We as a council would be notified in the case of a violation of the plan,” he said.

“But, we won’t be doing any drive-by checks of the progress of the development or anything like that.”

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The director of planning and environmental services said a final decision regarding the proposal would be made at a later date.

“I do think that I should point out that what we are discussing is just the KPoM,” Mr Johns said.

“The Department of Planning must also endorse the KPoM before we as a council ultimately make a decision on the application at a later time.” 

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