Opponents of the Iron Gates development at Evans Head are demanding that the controversial proposal be re-advertised.
Dr Richard Gates from the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee said the Richmond Valley Council’s general manager John Walker had admitted that more information was being sought from the developer.
Mr Walker said in January that ‘following the completion of council’s own assessment (of the DA), and from issues raised in the submissions and by some government agencies more information was now being sought from Gold Coral (the proponent).
Mr Walker said issues raised included the adequacy of the flora and fauna assessment prepared by the applicant, through to the potential impacts of Iron Gates on future development of the Evans Head Aerodrome.
Concerns had also been raised about the proximity of the RAAF’s Evans Head bombing range, the impact of the outstanding court orders related to a previous DA on the land, Aboriginal cultural heritage and the impact of residential development, and the economic impacts of an increased population, as well as infrastructure issues.
Dr Gates said he was surprised that the council had sanctioned the advertisement of the DA when it was ‘abundantly clear’ that the application was inadequate.
‘Even ‘Blind Freddy’ could see that the application was not complete,’ Dr Gates said.
‘Council needs to explain to ratepayers why their time has been wasted on such a long-standing, controversial matter which has already cost them dearly.
‘A good example of the DA’s inadequacy is the proponent’s report entitled Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment dated September 2014.
‘By its own admission, it was not complete and an updated version was to be ‘resubmitted’ to council.
‘Surely this admission should have been reason enough for council to withhold advertisement of the DA until the report was complete..
The Echonetdaily reported in January that 60 submissions had been receieved during the DA’s advertising period.
After decades of uncertainty, the development came back on the radar in June last year after residents complained of alleged illegal clearing at the site.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage confirmed it was investigating the clearing of the site, which is bordered by the Evans River, and national parks.
Despite that investigation, the development application was lodged and advertised by the new development company, Coast Coral Pty Ltd, which is headed up by Graeme Ingles, whose company Iron Gates Pty Ltd gained approval for 650 houses back in the 1990s.
At the time Mr Ingles was pushing for 800 lots on the site but activists blockaded the site and legal action was launched against the developer.
Dr Gates has also called on the council to reveal the size of the subsidy the council was planning to give the developer.
‘Council said last year in June that it was proposing to discount the sewerage charges from $32,437 to $8,000 per ET, a 75 per cent reduction which could amount to millions of dollars.
‘We need to hear what council has agreed to including other concessions it may have made.
‘It’s all a bit rich for council to be offering such a huge discount given the nearly 40 per cent rate hike it has imposed on ratepayers and the million dollars the Iron Gates has already cost ratepayers.’