Counselling the Council…

To the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors,

I realise that you are required to consider these applications in terms of Planning legislation, however I argue that you must also take a wider perspective on Tassal’s plan for the East Coast.  That view should be more than jobs, but also public amenity, security of other industries such as tourism and Tassal’s lack of social licence for their plan.  

I have specifically red-highlighted the areas of the DA of most importance in terms of public amenity in respect of The Open Zone. These are the areas which you as a Council should be protecting and enhancing for the wider good of the community. In particular since the increase in East Coast tourism has been recorded and that Triabunna now has the chance to maximise its tourism value as the gateway to World Heritage Area, Maria Island.
I refer to Section 7.2.5. which says:
“The purposes of Foreshore and Waterway open spaces are:
  • to protect and restore foreshore and waterway resources where they have significance at all levels in the open space hierarchy

  • to protect foreshore and waterways which contribute to ecosystem protection, stability and enhancement

  • to ensure compliance with state, national and international conservation agreements and covenants

  • to provide opportunities for residents and visitors to appreciate the foreshore and waterway assets

  • to contribute to scenic and amenity qualities

  • to provide opportunities for educational and scientific study and research

  • to provide resources for a wide array of recreational activities including swimming, fishing, sailing, boating, rowing, sunbathing, picnicking/ socialising, walking, nature study, photography and sightseeing

  • to provide linkages between open spaces areas, and to surrounding residential land and other community services

  • to provide opportunities for a range of economic benefits to be achieved through the commercial use of the resources for tourism, boating, shipping and fishing

  • to support other open space categories, which are able to collocate with, waterway and lake open space (e.g. Linear and Linkage, Conservation and Heritage, Landscape and Amenity, and Utilities and Services open spaces).

ROS 1.5 Ensure residential areas, open spaces and other community destinations are well connected with a network of high quality walking and cycling routes

The foreshore of Spring Bay is within the Open Space Zone. On the eastern side of Spring Bay and to either side of the site, the foreshore is not known to be used and there is no provision of paths for access. On the western side access to, and use of, the foreshore is more common given the nearby residential use, although the level of infrastructure is minimal. A foreshore walkway is required as part of the Solis development.

Beyond Spring Bay the Open Space Zone is applied to foreshore areas where public use is common and where it is supported by paths, play equipment, seating, signage & other infrastructure. The use of the Open Space Zone on the east side of Spring Bay subject to the rezoning appears to be by exception. Undeveloped foreshore areas in other areas of the planning scheme are within the Environmental Management Zone. This is important in the context of aquaculture having a discretionary approval process pathway within the Environmental Management Zone.

The Triabunna / Orford Structure Plan highlighted improvements to trails but not in the vicinity of the land affected by this request.

The current Light Industrial Zone provides a break in the foreshore and any potential trail development along Spring Bay. It is considered that the request will have negligible effect on the current situation…”

I suggest the fact that the foreshore is ‘not known to be used and there is no provision of paths for access.’ is an astonishing view. 

I suggest that on a strong seabreeze summer’s day, any or all of the councillors and Mayor might like to acquaint themselves with the beach and with the shoreline. It is not unusual to see a boat anchored at the area in question with a dive pennant displayed. It is also not unusual to see fishing dinghies fishing the calmer waters in front of the beach.

The same happens in Okehampton Bay on nor’easter days. It is well known that kayakers, swimmers, picnickers, boaters and fishermen use both locations.

There are any number of small coves, beaches and bays in Spring Bay, Prosser Bay and lining the Mercury Passage for which there is no shore access and yet the vast numbers of boat owners on the east coast make regular use of these areas for ‘swimming, fishing, sailing, boating, rowing, sunbathing, picnicking/socialising, walking etc.’.  Council appears to have forgotten that there are few anchorages out of an easterly or seabreeze and that a vast number of boat owners use all the bays and waterways in question.

I also suggest that at the very least, GSBC needs to protect the white beaches with the Council’s geographic boundaries for public amenity into the future.
1. Has Council taken the time to observe the beach during all seasons? 
2. Can Council confirm that it is worth removing one of the few white beaches in Triabunna’s Spring Bay and zoning it Light Industrial when it has the capacity to enhance the coastline and waterway for the tourists as they make their way to Maria Island and Ile de Phoque? 
3. Has Council approached all rate payers in Louisville (and to a lesser extent Barton Avenue) to discuss the implications of night-lights and constant noise that will be the result of Tassal securing approvals.
4. Has Council researched what ratepayers in the Channel region have had to confront for many years with expanding fish farms?
The majority of Councillors have consistently ignored the voice of the community and so it becomes necessary to once again state the following:
FACT ONE: Over 2000 people follow No Fish Farms in East coast Waters on Facebook and comment regularly online. Councillors should read the comments.
FACT TWO: 87% of 1400+ recreational fishers surveyed by RecFish Tasmania have said they do not want fish farms on the east coast.
Fact Three: Over 200 ratepayers attended a public meeting in Triabunna and expressed dismay and anger in the progression of the Tassal proposal, culminating in a VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN MAYOR KENT AND MINISTER ROCKCLIFF. 
FACT FOUR: Over 1500 people have signed a Change.Org petition against the fish farms this last week. The comments written by the petitioners are enlightening. An earlier petition to the State Government attracted about 1700 signatures. It may pay for Councillors to read the comments.
These are the hard facts of social licence – that the vast majority of GSBC’S RATEPAYING base in the southeast do not want fish farms or Tassal in our waterways.
It is easy to google Tassal’s disastrous track record throughout their history as a salmon farming company.
It is easy to google the destruction of the Channel region from salmon farm pollution.
It is easy to google the global environmental disasters happening because of intensive salmon farming.
It is easy to google the massive groundswell as communities across the globe attempt to wrest back their waterways from Councils and corporate moneymen.
It is also easy to damage a tourist brand of which businesses like Maria Island Walks, East Coast Cruises and Wineglass Bay Cruises are so proud. 
It is very easy to lose any support from your ratepaying and voting base over this issue.
Is Council aware that many residents of Triabunna are too afraid to speak out against the Tassal proposal for fear of recrimination and retribution? Council must thus be seen to be supporting a highly toxic social environment with their continued support of Tassal.
Further, Tassal has been seen to be financing anything from children’s t-shirts to the local pony club in order to buy its social licence. 
May ratepayers thus assume that by paying their rates to GSBC , those same ratepayers are buying a right to social licence in the same way?
One can only assume that Council cares little for the majority opinion within the area. In which case, it will be so easy for we ratepayers to make our voices heard and our votes count at the next council election.
I would appreciate an answer to my questions from the Mayor and/or any or all of the Councillors.
Thank you.