What is the draft Illawarra Escarpment Strategic Management Plan 2014 about?

The draft IESMP 2014 is a key document guiding how the Illawarra Escarpment is managed within the Wollongong Local Government Area. It identifies a range of environmental, cultural and economic values to be preserved and enhanced through management efforts and specifies criteria for the assessment of planning proposals on the escarpment.

Why does the Illawarra Escarpment require a strategic management plan?

The Illawarra Escarpment is an iconic feature of the Illawarra region. It spans across public and private tenures and has a complex history of use spanning tens of thousands of years; from Aboriginal occupation through to more recent history of agriculture, forestry, mining and residential use. Although in many areas the escarpment appears as a somewhat homogenous green backdrop to Wollongong, the escarpment is in fact a patchwork of pristine vegetation communities and more disturbed areas. The escarpment has complex and enduring Indigenous and European cultural heritage values. It is due to the importance of this icon in the hearts of so many that its management must be considered with appropriate care.

How was the draft IESMP developed?

The draft IESMP 2014 has been developed over a number of years with Council’s Escarpment Planning Reference Group comprising elected Councillors, community, Aboriginal and government representatives.

Will the new draft IESMP change my zoning?

No, the current Wollongong LEP 2009 zones are not modified by the draft IESMP 2014. The draft IESMP 2014 is intended to be a guiding document for consideration of planning proposals which may include rezoning, but these proposals are considered separately through Council’s land use planning function.

Why is Council updating the IESMP?

The IESMP 2006 was intended to be updated every 5 years. In addition, the IESMP 2006 refers to the Wollongong LEP 1990 which is no longer in effect. Many of the actions within the IESMP 2006 have been completed by Council.

Does this change what I can do with my land?

No, the draft IESMP 2014 does not introduce any new laws or regulations on what land management can legally occur on escarpment land.

What has changed from the previous Illawarra Escarpment Strategic Management Plan?

The draft IESMP 2014 maintains the policy direction of the IESMP 2006 with several key updates:
  • The land use planning section relates to the current Wollongong LEP 2009;
  • The boundary of the Illawarra Escarpment reflects Wollongong LEP 2009; and
  • An updated Action Plan focusses on actions able to be implemented by Council in partnership with the community and other government agencies.

How can I contribute to the draft IESMP 2014?

The draft IESMP 2014 has been prepared with the input of the Escarpment Planning Reference Group, but only through public exhibition can Council gain the input of a broader range of escarpment owners and users.

Key areas for feedback include:
  • Is the plan clearly presented?
  • Do you have information that should be included the plan?
  • What improvements would you make to the plan?

Who manages the Illawarra Escarpment?

The Illawarra Escarpment is not managed by one authority or owner. Almost 60% of the escarpment is in private ownership, with approximately 1,200 distinct owners. The next major land manager is National Parks with approximately 30% of the escarpment area. Council only owns approximately 5% of the escarpment area. 

Although the management of the Illawarra Escarpment is up to individual land managers, the draft IESMP 2014 aims to create a coherent vision of how it should be managed to maintain or improve the condition of the escarpment. 

What is the role of the draft IESMP 2014?

The draft IESMP 2014 provides a framework for escarpment land management. It is defines values and principles to be considered by land managers and public authorities such as Council, Local Land Services and the Department of Planning and Environment. 

The draft IESMP 2014 also outlines a range of actions to be implemented by Council in order to better understand the state of the escarpment and help land managers maintain or improve escarpment values.

Where is the mapping that was in IESMP 2006?

The IESMP 2006 included mapping of escarpment attributes; Core, Biophysical Support for Core, Landscape Support for Core and Escarpment Interface. This mapping was based on a number of landscape attributes such as vegetation type, riparian buffers and landslip risk. The purpose of this mapping was to identify areas of high conservation value within the escarpment (requiring conservation zoning) and other areas where some level of development may drive a conservation outcome for the escarpment.

The escarpment attributes were used during the Illawarra Escarpment Land Use Review 2007, along with other planning considerations, to inform the development of zones for the Wollongong LEP 2009.

Now that the Wollongong LEP 2009 zones are in effect, there is no longer a need to present this attribute mapping within the draft IESMP 2014. 

Am I within the area defined by the draft IESMP 2014?

The draft IESMP 2014 uses the Illawarra Escarpment boundary shown in Wollongong LEP 2009. To view if your property is within this area, go to Council’s planning and constraints map. Navigate to your property using the search tool, then choose Planning & Constraint Information/Current LEPs/Wollongong LEP 2009/2009 Illawarra Escarpment from the legend.

How can I have my say?

The easiest way to provide your feedback on the draft IESMP 2014 is to complete the feedback form below left of this page, or complete the hard copy available from Council libraries. Alternatively, you can write to: The General Manager, Wollongong City Council, Locked Bag 8821, WOLLONGONG DC NSW 2500.

For further questions please call (02) 4227 7111 or email council@wollongong.nsw.gov.au.

A drop-in information session will be held at the Wollongong Administration Building, 19 November 2014 from 6–8pm in the Level 9 Function Room.