Kalaru racecourse expansion approved, but support for equestrian centre disappointment

A planning proposal to expand operations at the Sapphire Coast Turf Club in Kalaru has finally been approved.
A planning proposal to expand operations at the Sapphire Coast Turf Club in Kalaru has finally been approved.

THE planning proposal for expanding operations at the Kalaru racecourse has finally been settled by Bega Valley Shire Council after months of deferrals, council reports and meetings with State Government departments. 

At issue has been the potential implications on existing wildlife corridors and which areas should be zoned E2 (Environmental Conservation) and E3 (Environment Management), as well as the sizes of these zones. 

Following a recent workshop with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Planning representatives, council staff prepared a revised zoning plan. 

The Sapphire Coast Turf Club has also been consulted throughout the process.

Councillors voted to formally adopt the planning proposal, with councillors Keith Hughes and Liz Seckold voting against the recommendation. 

Both believed the E2 corridors were too small to protect wildlife in the area, particularly the yellow-bellied glider. 

However, the recommendation was approved with councillors Bill Taylor, Russell Fitzpatrick, Tony Allen, Michael Britten, Sharon Tapscott, Ann Mawhinney and Kristy McBain voting for it.  

Prior to the vote, Cr Fitzpatrick tried to insert an additional point that council form a steering committee regarding the building of an Equine and Equestrian Centre at Kalaru. 

According to the Far South Coast Equine Industry Scoping Report released by Regional Development Australia in April 2013, the region has an opportunity to be recognised nationally and internationally as a centre of excellence for all equine services, including training and animal husbandry services, supplies and education.

Last week, Eurobodalla Shire Council formed a steering committee following an offer from Member for Bega and Treasurer Andrew Constance to provide NSW Government funding for an equine centre if council develops a sound business case by October.

The addition was not added and Cr Fitzpatrick expressed disappointment with the decision.

Also approved was a modification consent to allow an increase in crushing days and truck movements at a council-owned quarry in Coolagolite. 

The recommendation has attracted protest from neighbours and was deferred from the June 25 meeting for a staff report into issues raised. 

Resident Nina Vipond gave another deputation querying the legality of extractive buffer zones, however BVSC's manager of planning services Keith Tull told councillors these zones are imposed at a State Government level. 

The recommendation to grant the consent was approved, with the addition of an amendment to excise Saturday from the quarry's days of operation.


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