How to deal with your local Council.

hi guys, going to meet the shellharbour strategic planners on wed may 6th, to start the approval process for greenvalleys freeride park.

here is the letter i am presenting as well as taking my flora and fauna guy, and his report on the study area..

I'll keep you posted

nick :)

General Manager
Shellharbour City Council
PO Box 155

Attention: Ian Rankine
Ref No: 09COFPLA-0001
1 May 2009

Dear Ian,

Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd (ELA) has been engaged by Greenvalleys Freeride Park Pty Ltd (Greenvalleys) to provide advice for the proposed rezoning of Lot 1 in DP 881927 and Lot 2 in DP 999770 to allow recreation facilities as defined under the Shellharbour Rural Local Environmental Plan 2004 (SLEP).

“recreation facility means a building or place used for indoor or outdoor recreation,
including a billiard saloon, table tennis centre, squash court, swimming pool, gymnasium,
health studio, bowling alley, fun parlour or any other building of like character used for
recreation, whether used for the purposes of gain or not.”

The intention of Greenvalleys is to provide a place for mountain biking competition to occur which is approved
and managed pursuant to current legislation, with minimal impact on the environment and community.

Site Description

The site is located in the lower foothills of the Illawarra Escarpment approximately 5.5 kilometres east of
Macquarie Pass and 16 kilometres west of Shellharbour. The site consists of Lot 1 in DP 881927 and Lot 2 in
DP 999770 with a combined area of approximately 234 hectares.
Areas of the site are bushfire prone and of high conservation value. Endangered Ecological Communities
(EEC) are present on the site in addition to archaeological areas of significance (per s149 certificates).

A Flora and Fauna assessment has been completed for the site and can be submitted on request (BES 2008).
It was identified that the site contained Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland EEC, and the endangered plant
Solanum celatum, as listed on the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (TSC Act), was also identified
on site. Assessments of Significance (7-part tests) were completed pursuant to section 5A of the Environment
Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). It was concluded that the action proposed was unlikely to
have a significant effect on Solanum celatum or the Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland.

Planning Context and Proposal

The site is located within Shellharbour local government area (LGA) and falls within the jurisdiction of the
SLEP. Pursuant to SLEP, the site is currently zoned 1(a) Agriculture and 7(n) Nature Conservation Zone. In
accordance with these zones, a recreation facility is prohibited (cl.16 [4] and cl.28 [4] respectively).

It is the Proponents intention to seek consent for use of Lot 1 in DP 881927 and Lot 2 in DP 999770 for
downhill mountain bike competitions. Given the current zoning prohibits recreational facilities; we seek advice
on whether Council staff would support a spot rezoning/LEP amendment to allow this use. We understand the
draft Shellharbour LEP is due for release later this year.

The downhill mountain bike competition track will provide social and economic benefits to the region and will
consist of the following:

• Establishment of a downhill mountain bike competition track to be utilised for monthly events.
• Provision of a camping area, toilet facilities and onsite parking.

The development will be staged ensuring careful consideration and planning of management of the site and the
development. Council will be consulted during the various stages and strict guidelines will also be put in place
to ensure the development is of minimal impact.

Future development of the site may include nature boardwalks; school excursions to the Lothlerien Strongbark
Dairy Farm onsite; overnight camping; and the provision of a gateway to the Macquarie Pass National Park and
Illawarra Fly Walk.

Proposal Discussion

The proposed facility will be designed to provide an environmentally sustainable use of the site whilst providing a facility that meets the mountain biking needs of the wider Shellharbour community.

It will form an incorporated ‘not for profit’ organisation with all proceeds benefiting the members. There is currently no legal facility operating within the Illawarra region for those seeking this type of outdoor recreational activity.

The facility will provide a valuable asset to the region with not only providing a resource for the local community but also with the aim of minimising current illegal access to surrounding national park estate for this type of activity.

There is wide support for the project with over 1000 signatures on a petition promoting the activity.
In addition to this, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) is supportive of the project.

The MTBA is the governing body for mountain biking throughout Australia, which is run by mountain bikers for mountain bikers.

MTBA, as the nation's largest mountain biking association, serves as the national governing body for mountain biking throughout Australia. MTBA is an affiliated association with Cycling Australia defined, broadly, by a Schedule of Association. They provide insurance cover (including public liability) to all its members. MTBA is soon to set up an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Australia.

The facility will be professionally designed in accordance with the IMBA sustainable standards. When designing and building trails, the IMBA strive to limit environmental impacts; keep maintenance requirements to a minimum; and avoid user conflicts.

The site will be designed based on the constraints of the site and utilising methods to minimise any impacts on:

o Soils and Hydrology;
o Biodiversity;
o Heritage;
o Traffic and access;
o Noise and air quality; and
o Visual amenity and landscape.

The development will be of minimal impact with best practice management guidelines in place to ensure Council concerns, including the wider community, are accounted for. This will also include limits on the total
number of people permitted on site at any one time in addition to details relating to the ongoing maintenance of
the site.


In conclusion, this development proposal is defined as a recreation facility and, pursuant to SLEP, is prohibited within Lot 1 in DP 881927 and Lot 2 DP 999770, Illawarra Highway, Tongarra.

We seek a rezoning of the abovementioned lots to allow for the recreational use of the site.

This is a development that is greatly supported and will provide social and economic values for the region into the future.

Kind regards,
Simon Williams
Senior Consultant
Environmental Planning and Assessment
Eco Logical Australia Pty Ltd
thanks cat,

well the meeting was very positive with the strategic planners. The main points for consideration were
- a spot rezone for the 2 lots of land may not be necessary. Council can allow a particular type of activity ( such as mtb activity ) through an amendmant to the local environment plan.
- allowing for the campsite and parking areas will need some fine tuning in the proposal.

All environmental matters were thoroughly explained, and the proposal was discussed in detail.

Council members will be meeting with me to do an onsite inspection within the next 2 weeks.
- they were very positive with the idea of a mtb facility in shellharbour , but it was interesting to note that their knowledge of the sport and how mtb events run was minimal.

Getting them to agree on a mtb facility in principle will be the key , as once they approve it , the fine tuning of conditions to consent in terms of a managment plan , will be done in the DA phase.

It just takes time



Likes Dirt
Very exciting! Let me know when the bulldozer is ready to roll ;)

Do you think they'll freak out when they see the massive jumps we are going to put in? ;)
Very exciting! Let me know when the bulldozer is ready to roll ;)

Do you think they'll freak out when they see the massive jumps we are going to put in? ;)

If this project goes ahead , i think the people freaking out over how big the jumps will be , will be those who have a go at jumping them :D


Likes Bikes
With much patience and being proactive our local trails will be around for many years to come. The thing we all know with local councils is nothing happens of night. Going about it the right way with a little time and persistance it will pay off!

Mansfield Shire Council now has a cycling stratergy and grants to go towards a bike park with skills area, BMX track, bike tracks around town and the rail trail.
I think what would be great for both parties would be some kind of DH 'zone' system. As in the council would section of a nice, steep plot of land on which the downhill clubs can go crazy on. So instead of having to gain permission for ever little peice of track built, just get permission for some suitable areas where we can just build whatever we want.

FR Drew

Not a custom title.
Except that every clueless nimrod who wanted to build a non sustainable fall line track would cut loose and build whatever crap they wanted.

I'd far prefer that track building was controlled and people had to prove they had a clue before they were allowed to build.

Very inspiring. I wish you the best of luck, and just might be the first one to fly across the world to come ride it! Hang in there Nick, it will be that much sweeter in the end


Likes Dirt
Victorian Councils

Hey all,

Not sure if someone has already posted this or not, but I couldn't be f'd reading through the whole lot...

In terms of Victoria, Council's actually own VERY LITTLE in the way of useable land for MTB trails. 99.9% of the time the land is owned by State Government, and as such the Council are very unlikely to want to spend loads of THEIR ratepayers maney building trails in land that they are not formally responsible for. And yes, this includes the many locations where Councils are the formally recognised Committee of Management under the Crown Lands Act. In such cases they are still required to get approval - and involve - DSE, Pakrs Vic. or otherwise.

This leads to MANY political problems, as while even when it may not be too hard to organise initial trail building resources, the Council will always be concerned about ongoing maintenance.

I just wanted to say this as in most cases that I know of (& I work directly with ALL local Councils in Victoria and Australia on similar issues, but would prefer to remain professionally anonymous) we cant just wantanly blame our local Council if we dont have trails.

I just wish we had a similar system in Victoria as they do in Tasmania, as the Councils appear to be much more free to get involved in such facilities (where the land is actually joint owned by neihbouring Councils & other local Authorities), as they dont have to try and coordinate everything with a State authorities...