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• minimising nuisence
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• landscape controls


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Landscape Controls & Foreshore

The foreshore development control policy Sutherland Shire Council is not effective in fulfilling its environmental purpose. The code does little for the control of runoff and sediment from foreshore housing, and has done little about inappropriate architectural design practices, such as the misplacement of large glass areas which reflect in sheer planes back into the waterway (maximising the visual impact of construction, rather than placing it within its natural context).

The major concern is the failure of the draft to directly address runoff as (probably) the major environmental threat to the Hacking estuary. There are ample studies and recommendations (including those of council's stormwater policies and the recommendations of the Environment Committee) to suggest that the Landscape policy should strongly assist in preventing runoff into the Port.

Sutherland Shire Council is still slow in moving towards requiring low impact foundation and housing design to minimise site disturbance, and that sediment control on construction sites is still weak.

What is the PHPS position?

An effective foreshore development code should take into account the following environmental considerations.
  • The policy ought reflect powerful dissuasion against hard surfacing, wherever it is possible. The available evidence is that hard surfaces are one of the major reasons why oils and chemicals are readily transferred into the waterways. The policy ought provide a clear guidance towards the use of (for example) permeable walkways and driveways, and the use of building methods that leave the maximum amount of the site in its natural condition.

  • The policy ought provide strong protection of filter strips in their natural conditions, for a number of reasons including the filtration value of these and the importance of these as refuges for animals and reservoirs of natural vegetation.

  • The policy ought require some continuity between natural areas, such that wildlife corridors are created rather than isolated pockets of natural vegetation.

  • To allow for regeneration of bushland, an effective policy would maximise the indigenous landscape on any site, and allow for areas of natural understory. Without this, the mature trees which are so important to the character of our area will simply age, deteriorate and never be replaced by indigenous species.

  • An effective policy would direct attention to the under-stories, as well as mature trees. This is particularly in relation to foreshore or near foreshore residences, where natural filtration of runoff is so critical to the health of the waterway. It is however also highly significant in the creation of harbourages for native plants and animals.

To protect the natural character of Port Hacking the aesthetics of constructions should be considered from a waterway viewer's perspective as well as from the street. An overriding requirement should be that a foreshore site developer demonstrate clearly how the proposed landscaping, in conjunction with the architecture of the building, will protect the natural look of the waterway when seen from the water, would go some way towards this. However, the key to whether this would work is the vigour with which any such program is enforced.

With this in mind, any departures from the Code should be considered carefully, and only in the light of the achievement of the policy objectives of the Code.
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