Unbiased reports sidelined

Councillor David Tomlinsons attempt to establish independent environmental and social impact assessments for sensitive and controversial developments was deferred at the last Lismore City Council meeting so staff can prepare a report on the proposals viability.

Cr Tomlinsons proposal was instigated by what he described as a widespread feeling in the community and in Council that many environmental and social impact statements are biased in favour of developers.

Its clear that the present process doesnt work. The impact statements and assessments we get given arent worth the paper theyre written on, Cr Tomlinson said. Council has the resources to and could easily provide these documents without time delay.

Councils executive director of development and governance, Lindsay Walker, said in a report that he felt it was wrong to assume staff would be swayed by the bias that can creep into the current system.

Cr Meineke, an independent planning consultant, was opposed to the proposal. Apart from concerns about who would determine what projects were sensitive and controversial he also believed that it would cause unnecessary delays for developments.


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