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Coastal planning

Earlier in this chapter we saw that there is a difference between coastal management and coastal planning, although there are similarities between the strategic approaches taken by both. In fact 'strategic' is also a term generally applied to policies, plans and programs, although these elements of planning are quite different. According to Wood (1991) a policy can be defined as an inspiration and guidance for action; a plan as a set of coordinated and timed objectives for the implementation of the policy; and a program as a set of projects for a particular area. Glasson et al. (1999) went further, suggesting that whereas policies, plans and programs (PPPs) can each be sectoral, spatial or indirect, there is a tiered relationship between them. They suggested that a policy provides a framework for the establishment of plans, plans provide a framework for programs, and programs lead to projects (Glasson et al. 1999). For example, a coastal policy might have a goal of sustainable coastal development which is then incorporated through various objectives and principles into a state's coastal planning framework. From this a number of detailed coastal programs may be drawn up at either the state or local council level, and these in turn give rise to a number of specific coastal projects.

Thus coastal planning is really about developing PPPs that have an under- lying goal of the sustainable use of Australia's coastal resources. These PPPs have to be strategic in the sense that they look to the future and are integrative in nature. We therefore define coastal planning in Australia as follows:

Coastal planning is the formulation of coastal policies, plans and programs that promote the sustainable use of Australia's coastal resources.

It should be noted that unlike the more traditional forms of planning such as town planning or regional planning, which sometimes have major physical boundaries such as rivers or lakes, coastal planning will always have the problem of how to plan adjacent to the land-sea interface. In chapter 2 of this book, we discussed the complexity of coastal forms and processes around the Australian coast that have to be incorporated into various planning procedures. For example, development controls for residential development on a stable rocky coast may need to incorporate different principles, compared to similar controls on a fragile dune coast. It is also important for the traditional town planning to adopt a more integrative approach when considering interactions with coastal and marine processes. For example, poor coastal planning in Sydney resulted in sewage polluting the waters near the famous Bondi Beach, and poor coastal planning in Adelaide allowed development to encroach on the coastal dunes, resulting in reduced sediment supply for the beaches.

Kay and Alder (1999) commented on various concepts of coastal planning and suggested that these are less developed than the concepts of coastal management. In part this relates to the fact that coastal planning draws on aspects of town planning, conservation planning, strategic environmental planning and marine planning. Kay and Alder noted that, although there is considerable literature on planning theory, there is no clearly defined set of planning theories. They suggested the coastal planning approaches borrow from a number of planning theories, the most important of which are rational, incremental, adaptive and consensual planning (Kay & Alder 1999). They also quote unpublished material of King which identifies a change over the last 20 years from rational planning theories to more participative approaches such as adaptive and consensual planning, which reflects the overall changes to how societies, especially Western societies, relate to the environment (Kay & Alder 1999, p. 68).

In Australia there is a variety of specific coastal planning legislation in some states but nothing in others, and the linkages with individual state planning procedures are also just as varied. Each state has its own planning legislation, with different linkages to coastal development. In 1977, in an attempt to produce better coastal planning in Australia, the Combonwealth government funded the Royal Australian Planning Institute to prepare 'good practice guidelines for integrated planning' as part of the capacity-building component of its Coastal Action Plan. The aim of these guidelines was to help planners understand coastal planning techniques and put better techniques into practice. The guidelines (Graham & Pitts 1997) addressed two questions: (1) what are the desirable outcomes from the development, use and management of coastal resources? and (2) how can planners contribute to these outcomes?

The guidelines also recognised that the desirable outcomes should protect coastal resource values, including:

• natural values (environmental, ecological)

• lifestyle values (recreational, access, amenity)

• economic values (economic resources and activities)

• cultural values (traditional, pre-European culture, historic) and

• landscape values.

A key principle of the guidelines is the concept of ecologically sustainable development or ESD (see page 251) and its incorporation into decisions that impinge upon the use of coastal resources. The guidelines recognised that there is a well-developed philosophy for coastal planning, but point out that our current planning processes do not always deliver a good product because the principles of ESD have not been incorporated into the planning process.

In an attempt to incorporate key principles of ESD into objectives and guidelines for coastal planning, Graham and Pitts (1997) proposed a set of development objectives and guidelines to help decision-making for the development and use of coastal resources. They use four headings under which they give an objective, as follows:

 
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