In November, the Clarence City Council (CCC) advertised its Planning Scheme amendment for the eastern portion of the Seven Mile Beach Peninsula. The scheme amendment involves inserting a Development Plan Overlay which is effectively a change of zoning of the eastern portion of the Seven Mile Beach Peninsula from recreation to a new special use zoning which allows the Goggin golf course development to be assessed as a permitted use.
The Goggin Foundation wants the CCC Planning Scheme amendment so that it can seek a permit to construct and operate:
- two 18 holed golf courses
- clubs rooms with 20 private guest accommodation rooms, golfers lounge, day spa, pro shop, and restaurant
- local convenience store
- multipurpose indoor sports centre and hostel style accommodation
- up to 216 private residential dwellings
- children’s golf course
In its representation the TCT advised that the planning scheme amendment should be refused for the following reasons.
State Coastal Policy
Allowing up to 216 private residential dwellings plus shops, a sports centre, hotel, restaurant etc in the Seven Mile Beach Peninsula is, in our view, simply urban or residential development – an entire new town – in a public reserve not previously used for this purpose and which is quite unsuitable for this purpose. It is therefore contrary to the section 2.4.2 of the State Coastal Policy which states that:
‘Urban and residential development in the coastal zone will be based on existing towns and townships. Compact and contained planned urban and residential development will be encouraged in order to avoid ribbon development and unrelated cluster developments along the coast.’
The Goggin proposal is not ‘based on existing towns or townships’, is an example of ‘ribbon development’ and is an ‘unrelated cluster’ development on the coast and is clearly and comprehensively contrary to section 2.4.2 of the State Coastal Policy.
The Goggin proposal involves allowing residential development well outside the growth boundary as contained in the Southern Tasmania Land Use Strategy 2010-35 (STLCS) and the CCC Planning Scheme. The residential component of the proposed Goggin development is approximately 5km by road away from the growth boundary. While some flexibility was anticipated or even encouraged by the STLCS, this exemption is excessive and should be refused.
The growth boundary forms part of the CCC Planning Scheme and it is the council’s responsibility to provide an explanation for why the change is proposed. However, the planning advice provided to the Council fails to provide an explanation for why the growth boundary has been established in this area and has failed to attempt to justify why an exemption should be granted. In the absence of any justification for an exemption, the current growth boundary should remain unchanged.
Unacceptable indirect impacts on coastal values
The proposed Goggin development would have unacceptable indirect impacts on the adjacent coastal line and in particular the bird species which nest, roost and feed on it. The relative remoteness of the eastern part of the Seven Mile Beach Peninsula and, in particular, the lack of permanent residents, is likely to be a key factor in some species persisting in the area.
A development of this type will lead to hundreds of people living in the peninsula and possibly many thousands of people each year visiting to use the other facilities. A proportion of these people would be expected to also visit the nearby beaches and sand flats, which will increase the amount of disturbance to the bird life. The impact is likely to be greatest on the pied oystercatchers which are known to nest and raise young on Five Mile Beach.
Unacceptable impacts on recreational use
Allowing up to 216 private residential dwellings along with all of the other components of the proposed Goggin development will have unacceptable impacts on the wide range of recreational pursuits for which the area is used.
To our knowledge the area is used daily by walkers, dog-walkers, horse-riders and bicyclists. It is also used by orienteering clubs for special events and is visited by boating enthusiasts.
Some parts of the Goggin development will clearly be off limits to non-golf recreation and, even where access and use is permitted, it will be restricted to certain pathways and the experience which many people currently enjoy will be largely destroyed. We would expect many users to abandon the area.