‘Inadequate’ protections could jeopardize UNESCO World Heritage bid, Bendigo council warns | Bendigo Advertiser

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A REGION-wide bid to award World Heritage status to Victoria’s historic goldfield sites could be undermined by ‘inadequate’ planning rules, the councils have warned in an inquest. Bendigo and Ballarat councils have told a Victorian parliamentary inquiry that UNESCO may require changes to Victoria’s planning framework to award World Heritage status to sites across the region. The councils are leading a bid from 13 local governments for the status, which is estimated to cost the tourism sector between $25 million and $66 million a year. Up to 15 historic sites in the region could be proposed. All are said to have links to the Victoria Gold Rush, which reshaped the world in the mid-19th century. More news: How you can commemorate Anzac Day 2022 in central Victoria Exactly which ones would be named have yet to be decided. They would likely include several buildings and mining sites, although councils say they would only make up a small fraction of the land in the area. A successful bid could have ramifications for parts of Victoria’s complex planning system, particularly in relation to areas immediately surrounding World Heritage sites, Bendigo and Ballarat Council told the inquest. UNESCO might want to ensure that any future development in these areas would not diminish the “outstanding universal value” of a World Heritage site, they said. Councils have suggested “buffer zones” around all successful sites, with new planning rules to protect features such as sight lines. Developers of these areas should consult communities on heritage issues much earlier. Currently, “the heritage protection process is reactionary, triggered very late in development processes and often not a priority consideration when planning for change,” the councils said. They suggested asking communities how new buffer zone developments could impact heritage tourism economies, not just whether old buildings should be protected. The buffers could also bring tougher protections for heritage-listed places, including new crackdowns on so-called “negligent demolition”. “Penalties for wrongdoing in heritage matters are almost invariably too lenient and do not deter the deliberate actions of [a property] owner,” the tips said. The comments came as the National Trust warned Parliament that councils need more guidance if they are to follow heritage protection reforms designed to stop neglect demolition. Bendigo council is among those wondering if it can introduce the reforms, but an elected official earlier this year said the state government needed to “come to the party” and give more advice. also have implications for protections against “overtourism”. Tourist areas around the world are reporting housing shortages due to the number of people renting buildings for short-term accommodation, the councils said. City planners in other parts of the world have created areas for short-term accommodation around heritage sites. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the nity community. Here’s how you can access our trusted content:


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