Tuesday, 31 July 2012

NSW The Ballina Shire council will recommend approval for plans to rezone land


The Ballina Shire council will recommend approval for plans to rezone land that could eventually hold 3000 new homes. Councillors voted 7-2 at this week's meeting in favour of rezoning areas known as Cumbulum precincts A and B. The two-part project in the Ballina hinterland has been likened to duplicating the existing villages of Alstonville and Wollongbar.

Mayor Phillip Silver says it's a significant and far-reaching decision that will guide residential development in the shire for the next 20 years.
"Some folk will not like it, and I can tell you even the councillors that voted for it weren't particularly happy about it," he said.

"But the point is, the land has been zoned urban-investigation (for) over a decade, the owners applied to have it rezoned, all of the issues that came out of the exhibition have been assessed and verified.
"It ticked every box, so really there was no reason to refuse it," Cr Silver said.
But Greens councillor Jeff Johnson says it's a poor decision that should not have been pushed through at the final meeting of the current council's term.

"There are some significant issues regarding the cost and delivery of infrastructure that will be required, including the upgrade and realignment of Ross Lane and the impacts on Lennox Head," he said.
"It's disappointing that in the last meeting of this council term, we've just made the most significant rezoning decision for over 30 years, that will not be needed for at least 15 to 20 years in the future," Cr Johnson said.

Councillor David Wright, who put forward the motion to recommend approval, says it's a prudent decision.

He says the State Government has pressured the council to move on the development, and may have stepped in if no progress was made.

Cr Wright says the council managed to convince the developers to fund infrastructure work that could have cost the public millions.

"What we've managed to do is to get Precinct A and Precinct B both entered into voluntary planning agreements which will really relieve the present-day community, our ratepayers, of (the) burden of putting in major infrastructure," he said.

But the head of Lennox Head's chamber of commerce, Louise Owens, is not convinced that's enough.
"The infrastructure of Lennox Head needs to be upgraded to cope with the amount of people who are going to come into the area now to visit," she said.
"We're already virtually at a maximum parking capacity.

"Once you reach that, you turn customers away from the businesses rather than attracting them to it."