Couple of pieces from Miranda Devine on the havoc being wrought by misanthropists flying the “green” flag
THIS is a case study of what is wrong with the O’Farrell government.
Just across the Richmond River from Ballina’s Big Prawn, Bernard and Rikki Grinberg run a caravan park on eight pretty hectares behind South Ballina beach.
They have ploughed their retirement savings into restoring an old camping ground into a low-key, affordable, family-friendly eco-resort.
But now, like property owners all over NSW, their livelihood is under threat, as green-dominated councils use a new statewide planning template effectively to “sterilise” land of human influence.
The Grinberg’s Ballina Beach Village has been rezoned from a recreational zone to the environmentally sensitive category of E2, which is the next stage down from a national park, and forbids tourist activity. While, technically, they are allowed to keep operating their eco-resort under an “existing uses” clause, the reality is the opposite.
Now, every time they want to change anything, whether it is to use crockery at their kiosk, hire a singer to play in their piano bar, renovate the interior of an old shed to turn it into a yoga studio, even trim a branch off a termite-infested tree that might fall on a tent, they have to submit a development application and prove to Ballina Shire Council they are not “intensifying” the use of their land.
The effect is that their thriving business is becoming unviable.
Malign green councils – Victorian style
MALIGN green influence on local councils continues unperturbed, no matter what flavour of government exists at the federal or state level.
In Yarra Ranges council, where a sole Greens councillor damaged the local timber industry last year by whipping up a boycott of locally made Reflex paper, the latest farce is a ban on shark fin soup.
On Tuesday night the council voted to “rid the Shire of Yarra Ranges of the ecologically destructive delicacy of Shark Fin soup” as Greens councillor Samantha Dunn put it. She revealed that there are currently six restaurants in Yarra Ranges serving Shark Fin Soup. Off with their heads.
This brilliant idea was the brainchild of a teenager, Yarra Ranges Young Environmental Achiever of the Year, Jordan Crook, a Dunn protégé who wants to” raise awareness of the plight of the world’s Sharks”.
Tell that to the five men who have been killed by sharks in WA since September.
Meanwhile, in Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions, Yarra City Council last year voted to charge café and restaurant owners if they used outdoor heaters to keep diners warm in winter. Instead, they were to issue blankets to cold customers, who at least were still free to enjoy shark fin soup, if desired.
Thankfully common sense prevailed after council was deluged with complaints. ?Independent councillor Dale Smedley described the mood: “Where everyone is coming from is `Leave us alone socially. You clean the roads and let us live our lives’’’.
Amen to that.
But green infiltration of local councils all over the country has become a scourge, creating deliberate obfuscating bureaucracy, wasting money, slashing property values, strangling free enterprise and risking people’s lives.
Landowners have found they are unable to improve their land or, in many cases, even farm it effectively.
For instance, a macadamia nut farmer in Byron Bay in northern NSW who finds his farm has been placed in an environment conservation zone, named E2, can’t leave a paddock fallow for a year, a standard farming practice to rest the soil. If he wants to replant macadamias on that paddock, or even switch to mangoes, he has to apply to council for a development application, with all the cost, red tape and uncertainty that entails.
One farmer in South Ballina on the NSW north coast, has valuations which show how the “dezoning” has halved the value of his land.
On January 5, 2006, his farm was worth $5,600,000.
On February 1, this year, it was worth just $2,600,000.
In their report, valuers Herron Todd White explained: “Ballina Shire Council … designates substantial parts of the [farm] as E2 Environmental Conservation zoning. This significantly limits the use [to] which this land can be put.”
When it comes to the ecovandalism of local councils nothing beats their reluctance to clear the vegetation that fuels bushfires. The green-driven refusal to perform adequate hazard reduction for fear of disturbing a hollow log, has led to massive fuel loads which turn an ordinary fire into a lethal inferno.