Community participation in planning

CommunityParticipationBelow is the Association’s response to Council’s Community Participation Plan:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the  Draft Willoughby Community Participation Plan for land use planning processes under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

It is good to see that Council has used the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) framework in developing this plan.
However, we do have concern that the  AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard 2016 by AccountAbility used is not best suited for use within a local government environment. AA1000 is a commercially developed ‘Standard’ lacking peer review. The majority of organisations that use the ‘Standard’ are commercial organisations not government bodies.
We note that “relevant progress associations, societies or other community organisations whose comments, in the authorised officer’s opinion, would assist the assessment of an application” will be notified. This approach fails to meet the Transparency commitment of ”  Our Future Willoughby 2028″. We acknowledge that not every applications requires notification as above. The more appropriate wording would be “progress associations, societies or other community organisations for some Category B & all C applications will be notified”.
With regard to Part E, for clarity and certainty, the category B & C and C tables should be annotated to reflect the fact that Progress Associations etc will be notified.
One of the major issues facing community activists is the difficulty tracking the submission of opportunistic Planning Proposals. An opportunistic planning proposal generally is inconsistent with the Local Environment Plan that was accepted by the community. We believe that Council should treat a planning proposal as a category C application.
Integration of applications: Community participation with the planning process would work better if the community can find the development application, between Willoughby Local planning panel, Sydney North Planning Panel, State planning Panel and the council DA website, it is hard to find information. It would be good if there was a system that could point to all current applications. We believe that this could be achieved with minimal change to Council’s current system.
Exhibition timelines should be more than 14 days or 21 days.  Australia Post current delivery standard is now 4 days in Sydney Metro area. the exhibition period should start 5-6 days after the notification letter has been send and the exhibition period run for 14 days!

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