Almost 11 months to the day after Lismore City Council (LCC) rejected it, Rosebank Buddhist Meditation Retreat has withdrawn its appeal to the Land & Environment Court for the expansion of its centre to accommodate up to 80 participants.
The appeal was lodged by Northern Rivers Vipassana Trust Pty Ltd in January of this year following LCC’s unanimous decision in July last year to refuse the application put by town planners Newton Denny Chapelle.
The rejection follows closely on the heels of a Land and Environment Court ruling against the same developer for a land-sharing development (MO) at an adjoining property.
The development in Fox Road was controversial from the outset: LCC received 457 public submissions (311 in support and 146 in objection) to the DA when it was originally submitted.
The proposal was seeking approval to undertake the construction of a retreat centre to run meditation courses, and was designed for 80 students in the long term. It was to be built in stages as demand increased and operate all year round.
In recommending rejection, council staff noted that: the proposed removal of trees was likely to have a significant adverse impact on flora and fauna in an identified wildlife corridor; adequate road access had not been provided to service the development; sewage disposal arrangements were inadequate; and the site required an Aboriginal cultural heritage report.
The area is used as a wildlife release site by WIRES and LCC was concerned at the number of native habitat trees that would need to be removed to make the site navigable for the proposed increased number of vehicles.
Local resident Alicia Carter told Echonetdaily at the time, ‘WIRES Northern Rivers has five wildlife carers living on Fox Road. For at least five years solidly, we have set up large endangered-species aviaries for all species. We have been releasing into this special area which is why it is so critical that it is preserved.’
‘The disposal of wastewater, and the significant roadworks required to address additional traffic and safety on the gravel surface of Fox Road were considered to justify refusal of the proposal by Council last year,’ LCC’s development and compliance manager, Peter Jeuken, said yesterday.
‘Plans for the proposal were amended as part of the recent court appeal process, but the surprise decision by the developer to discontinue the appeal will avoid further legal costs being incurred by Council to defend the refusal.’