Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

From the Home Front

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

From the Home Front

Article excerpt

Development application focus group in Lismore

A DEVELOPMENT assessment focus group run by Lismore City Council with local industry representatives last week has resulted in a raft of measures to streamline development applications.

The council's manager development and compliance, Peter Jeuken, said council staff had taken action on a range of issues, big and small.

aA report by independent consultant Pamela Westing made it abundantly clear we needed an internal review of our processes,a he said.

aWe have done that concurrently with this development assessment focus group to get outcomes that will benefit anyone doing a DA.

aChanges include having a single point of contact for specific enquiries, pre-lodgement meetings so developers know what's expected of them and a future plan to introduce an online fee calculator.a

Neil Priestley from building company NE&A Priestley thought the focus group could be expanded to examine other areas of the council to facilitate service improvements.

aAs with any council there's quite a lot of paperwork and red tape but this is helping to condense that,a he said.

Bennett Constructions managing director Darryl Piper felt the council had listened to the participants and taken their concern on board.

aIt may mean we can make a phone call and have something resolved in a week rather than a tennis match of letters,a he said.

A draft set of policy provisions aimed at simplifying the council's DA notification process is now on exhibition and staff are developing an electronic newsletter with information about changes to building requirements and council regulations.

aOver the last three years we have made some major structural and systemic changes to our DA planning area as a result of the independent review,a said LCC Executive Director Sustainable Development, Brent McAlister. aI initiated the focus group to get first-hand feedback on fine tuning our service from regular customers. As a result of meeting we are making over a dozen small changes such as reducing the length of our application form through to booking specific inspection times.a

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