THE expansion of coalmining in the Gunnedah shire is one of the catalysts for a fresh look at how the town will cope with future residential and commercial expansion.
Mayor Owen Hasler said the strategic planning review, which is expected to take about four months to complete, would analyse the council’s commercial, industrial and residential strategies to ensure the demands of future growth could be addressed.
Council’s planning and environmental services director Michael Silver said a number of potential “game changers” such as large coalmining developments, a proposed second rail overpass and potential major business interests would have significant implications for how Gunnedah grew in the next decade.
“It is essential the council takes account of these potential changes and puts mechanisms in place that provide opportunity for developers but at the same time ensure broad and equitable community benefit,” he said.
“We have already seen exceptional residential development over the last six years.
“A significant component of the land now zoned residential in Gunnedah carries subdivision app- rovals, so it is timely that the next phases of residential subdivision release be examined.”
Mr Silver said while there were still almost 1000 residential lots to develop, the council needed to confirm its long-term approach to these areas, particularly in respect to service provision and extension.
He said likely changes to highway and traffic movements through Gunnedah in the near future would be of particular significance in the analysis of potential business and commercial development, taking into account highway entry points and the opportunities that would then arise in the West End business district.
“Council is very mindful of the need to facilitate business development while at the same time supporting and providing the capability for existing commercial activity to expand,” Cr Hasler said.
The review will involve consultation with relevant sectors of the community, particularly business, and the public exhibition of the draft strategies.