A public meeting to discuss what is described as Ballina Shire’s largest residential expansion will be held at Lennox Head Community Centre on Saturday 10 March, at 10am.
The two village-style developments for around 10,000 people, known as Cumbalum A and B Precincts, are currently on exhibition, and if approved by the state government would see hundreds of hectares of rural and agricultural land behind Lennox Head rezoned for around 3,300 low- and medium-density dwellings over the next 30 years.
The Department of Planning and Infrastructure has told Ballina Shire Council that it wants the proposals for both precincts, owned by more than 50 different landowners, finalised soon.
Cr Jeff Johnson told council it was important for Council staff to hold a public meeting to explain to the community, and not just landowners, ‘exactly what is being proposed, it’s an essential part of public consultation’.
Cr Johnson, whose move for the public meeting was backed unanimously, said the documents on Council’s website were hard to find, difficult to download and contained highly technical information and reports.
He said they needed to be explained in an easy-to-understand presentation by staff so the community could be involved in the process and people could make a submission if they wanted to.
Councillors agreed to schedule the meeting for March 10, as well as an extension of the exhibition period till the end of March.
Precinct A plans to accommodate about 850 dwellings and a population of 2,300, while the much larger Precinct B could accommodate 2,500 dwellings and 6,700 people, equivalent to the current population of Lennox Head.
Chris Pratt, a planning consultant for landowners of the subdivision, urged councillors not to extend the consultation period as ‘public meetings are not a good way to consult’ because he claimed a few people ‘dominated’ discussion.