Newey’s future use to be put under the microscope

The use of the Newey, including the future of free camping accessibility, is to be considered by councillors at tomorrow’s ordinary meeting.

A draft of the Newey Master Plan will be presented to councillors at Cobar Shire Council’s Ordinary Meeting tomorrow.

Council’s director of planning and environmental services Garry Ryman provided councillors with a report on the draft plan on June 21 however the matter was deferred for discussion at last month’s meeting to this month.

The matter is expected to draw a large gallery of residents to the meeting as it has been a hot topic for a number of years.

Mr Ryman’s report recommends council put the Newey Land Use Master Plan on public display for community members to have their input into its development.

He also recommends that council’s general manager and directors consult with interested stakeholders concerning the promotion and supply of alternative accommodation options for visitors to Cobar and report back to council.

“The consultation process is to consider a wide range of camping and caravanning options having regard to relevant legislation,” Mr Ryman said in his report.

“The plan identifies objectives and actions to guide local management decisions relating to the Newey, with specific regard to applicable land use planning controls under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.”

In his report Mr Ryman said a number of management issues relevant to the Newey have been identified with objectives and actions developed for each of the issues.

Issues brought to the attention of councillors in the draft plan highlight the use of the Newey for the purpose of a camping ground (and/or caravan park) is a prohibited land use under the Cobar Local Environmental Plan 2012.

“There are no higher level planning instruments under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 which overturn or vary this non-discretionary prohibition. Therefore, without legislative change council cannot consent to camping at the Newey,” his report states.

Land use at the Newey must be lawful in terms of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP & A Act).

Mr Ryman said legislative changes and approvals must be sought and secured which could take months to years due to the Crown Land tenure of the Newey.

The draft plan also includes a breakdown of the Newey into separate management precincts, again to guide future decision making.

These include general maintenance, water quality, landscaping, erosion and track management, prohibited activities, compliance, risk management and future development.

As part of the plan, councillors will discuss alternate camping options in Cobar and look at other sites where camping is a permissible use.

This could include new sites or adding to the existing activities on established sites.

Suggested alternative sites may include Cobar Caravan Park, Cobar Camels Rugby Club, Dalton Park Horse Complex and Ward Oval.