An application to build a caravan park on land adjacent to the Evans Head aerodrome has been approved by the Richmond Valley Council.
But the approval is for five years only, and the applicant, Outback Camps Australia, must remediate the site at the end of its life.
The council’s general manager Vaughan Macdonald said the application was lodged with the council in August last year and had been approved by the council’s development assessment panel.
The application was advertised for public comment and received 38 submissions for and 32 against.
The plan for the 10-hectare site is to build 86, four-bedroom movable dwellings, two, two-bedroom, disabled person compliant movable dwellings, as well as an administration office, amenities facilities, and dining and recreational facilities. Internal roads, car parking spaces, loading facilities, and bus pick up and set down areas will also be constructed as part of the development.
Macdonald said as with all development applications received by the council, the proposal underwent a full professional and technical assessment to ensure it met council’s Development Control Plan, the Richmond Valley Local Environmental Plan, and relevant NSW Government legislation.
Mr Macdonald said the Assessment Panel considered all potential impacts of the development on the permanent residential population of Evans Head before approving the application.
He said the site was considered suitable for the development, however, approval was subject to conditions including a wetland management plan with independent peer review and ongoing monitoring.
‘The applicant will also be responsible for costs associated with connecting to the council’s reticulated sewer system and Rous Water’s reticulated water supply, as well as the installation of stormwater treatment devices,’ Mr Macdonald said.
Mr Macdonald said the temporary workers’ accommodation was needed to ensure housing was available for workers during the construction phase of the Pacific Highway upgrade, and to avoid putting further demands on housing in Evans Head, Woodburn and surrounds.
The Evans Head Residents for Sustainable Development community group had described the DA for the worker’s village as ‘grossly incomplete’ and lacked information critical for proper assessment by the public.
It was also criticised by aviator and former Ballina shire councillor Margaret Howes.
‘Anyone who approves a donga camp/caravan park so close to the end of an active airport runway is not a competent town planner.,’ Ms Howes said.
‘Why create a development which will give eternal conflict, and presents a danger to pilots/passengers in aircraft and inhabitants/users of a proposed donga camp/caravan park?