Wingecarribee Shire Councillors have voted to adopt the Shire’s first Rural Tourism Policy.
Council’s Group Manager Planning, Development and Regulatory Services, Nick Wilton, explained how the policy would benefit the Shire.
“Tourism-related activities provide almost 2,300 full-time jobs across our Shire and many more part-time roles,” he said.
“It is without doubt one of our Shire’s largest and most important industries.
“At the same time we’re aware of the economic challenges faced by our rural community,” Mr Wilton said.
“This policy will subsequently provide a strategic framework within which tourism, agriculture and our Shire’s unique environmental sensitivities can all mutually coexist.”
A Planning Proposal will now be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to amend the Wingecarribee Local Environmental Plan 2010 to increase the number of bedrooms for Bed and Breakfast accommodation premises to five and up to eight bedrooms for Farm Stay properties.
Artisan food and drink industries will also be permissible with consent in Primary Production, Rural Landscape and Tourist-zoned areas while Function Centre businesses will also be permissible in rural landscape zones.
“These inclusions provide a clear and consistent framework for operators and at the same time delivers a real shot in the arm for local businesses and the broader community,” Mr Wilton added.
“It allows for appropriate agri-businesses in rural areas and ensures we maintain the right balance between our residents, environment and unique heritage areas.”
“On the flip side this policy will restrict speculative tourist operators attempting to push through inappropriate developments in rural locations.”
Councillors unanimously approved the policy which followed a three month public exhibition period.
Council staff will now submit a Planning Proposal with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for authority to place the policy on public exhibition.
The Rural Tourism Policy will be subsequently reviewed in 18 months.
To view the Rural Tourism Policy visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/policies.
For further information contact Council’s Strategic Land Use Planning Unit on phone 4868 0888.