Local resident Jill Weaving put a number of questions to Cobar Shire Council last Thursday night about the progress of the Newey Management Plan as part of the public address section of the Ordinary Council Meeting.
Mrs Weaving asked for an update and implored council to have the issue of free camping at the Newey recreation area sorted as a matter of urgency.
“The caravaners will be coming back through Cobar very soon because September is the first of Spring so therefore we have to get this sorted so the income can come back into the town,” Mrs Weaving said.
“People in the town are disgruntled with all this.”
She questioned what progress had been made with council’s application with the Crown Lands Department.
Council responded that the department was still working on the matter.
“If the [Newey] feasibility study has been done, why can’t we get on and get this sorted?” Mrs Weaving asked.
Council’s general manager Peter Vlatko said the Newey was just part of council’s investigations into what activities are permitted and not permitted on Crown Land.
“Please understand that the Newey is just one part of the problem. We have to get it right. The council has asked us that we get it right, completely right,” Mr Vlatko said.
“The answer we have is whatever we do, we aren’t going back to the old days, and we need to get the community involved to solve the problem with the Newey.”
Council’s director of planning and environmental services Garry Ryman provided information to the meeting about council’s Gateway application to the Department of Planning.
“Once this comes back, assuming they approve the Gateway determination to amend the Cobar Environmental Plan to make a camping ground permitted use, it will determine whether the Gateway proposal has to be put on public exhibition for 28 days or 14 days,” Mr Ryman explained.
“The second part is preparing the Draft Plan of Management.
“The previous former Crown Lands Act was repealed on July 1 and the Crown Land Management Act 2016 came into effect in terms of the Public Crown Reserve.
“We now need to prepare the Plan of Management under the Division of Local Government Act. That’s what has been happening at the moment. We have a Draft Plan of Management and have been talking to consultants to make sure it’s right.”
He said as part of Thursday’s meeting agenda, council was to discuss the categorisation of land which is needed for the Plan of Management.
“Once that is prepared we are able to go to public consultation.”
Mr Ryman however could not give a timeframe as to how long this would all take.
“Unfortunately the process is longer than we thought,” he said.