Darwin Regional Land Use Plan
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27 LAND USE STRUCTURE Open Space and Natural Areas Key Open Space Objectives Retain the regions natural landscapes, vegetation and habitats where compatibility with appropriate urban and rural development can be maintained. Minimise the impact of development on the natural environment during the construction phase and ongoing use. Recognise and promote Darwin Harbour as the regions most valuable natural asset, minimising detrimental impacts from development in the harbour catchment and on its foreshore. Provide appropriate open space reserves for the conservation of natural environment and heritage features, and for resident and visitor recreation in active and passive activities. Recognise the role of remnant vegetation corridors in providing interconnectivity of open space and protecting amenity. Recognise the role of urban green space in reducing urban heat impacts and providing community amenity. Open spaces and conservation areas throughout the Darwin Region have roles in protecting land and water resources, the conservation of significant vegetation communities and wildlife habitats, and enhancing green infrastructure within the urban environment. The land use plan recognises the continued contribution of these areas to improving community well-being in the tropics, where heat minimisation is an important aspect of liveability and to providing links between environmental landmarks. The land use plan also recognises that accommodating future growth will require selective impacts on the natural environment and biodiversity enjoyed by residents. Creating new human habitat cannot be achieved without some impact on existing natural habitat, new development should maintain or provide urban green space in public and private areas including parks, street trees, landscaping and vegetation corridors. The land use plan also places a priority on land reserved to protect particularly valuable environmental elements, including special topographic and other geographic features, key natural habitat areas and unique or especially valuable vegetation. As total consensus regarding significant areas is difficult to achieve, the plan aims to provide a appropraite balance between the obligation to protect the natural environment and to provide for the recreational needs of the community. A significant vegetation community identified as being of value is the mangroves, which is important because of its ownership of specific ecosystems and its function of protecting coastal areas from erosion and accretion over time. Darwin Harbour is regarded by many as the citys most valued natural asset for the combination of its critical roles of supporting northern Defence, LNG production and commodity exports, and boundless opportunities for fishing, boating, tourism and other recreational pursuits. It is a powerful magnet used and loved for the lifestyle it provides for residents from across the region. The plan aims to maintain a sensible balance between the harbours diverse working role, recreational needs and the obligation to protect its natural environment. Within this context the Stormwater Strategy for the Darwin Harbour Region released by the NT Environment Protection Authority in association with the Darwin Harbour Water Quality Protection Plan prepared by the Department of Land Resource Management establishes a framework to minimise the impacts of future urban development in the catchment on the high water quality in the harbour. The potential for urban development around the harbour will ensure future residents also have ready access to the recreational opportunities associated with the harbour. Other recreational pursuits valued by many in the community include 4WD activities, hunting, bush walking and camping. The plan is predicated on the need for appropriate management of natural areas to provide continued access to opportunities for such activities within the context of protection of areas of conservation significance. Darwin Harbour, Shoal Bay, the Howard Springs Sand Plains, Finniss River and Adelaide River Coastal Floodplains and Fogg Bay are all recognised as being of national and international significance. Key Environment and Heritage Objectives in the Regional Context and Policy section of this plan establish a framework to ensure more detailed planning and assessment of development occurs in the context of appropriate identification and protection of areas of conservation significance. The identification of Priority Environmental Management (PEM) areas in the Litchfield Municipality recognises the importance of providing links between environmental landmarks and guides consideration of areas of significance outside parks and reserves. Future detailed planning will consider the need for refinement of the existing PEM areas and for identifying similar areas in other localities. George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens
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