Dreams collided at Lismore City Council (LCC) public access this week as the developer of a proposed ‘glamping’ site at Corndale shared their dreams while an adjoining landholder said their current lifestyle was a fulfilment of theirs.
After some debate a development application (DA) lodged in July this year for an eco-tourism facility at Corndale was refused on Tuesday night.
Councillors voted unanimously (Cr Meineke left for the vote as he represented the developer professionally) to refuse the application as it failed to meet a number of criteria.
The term glamping refers to glamorous or upmarket camping.
Peter Clark spoke in support of his DA and said the issue was more about eco-tourism in general in the Lismore local government area (LGA) rather than just his glamping development.
‘We realise that Council have to get it right up front but we also believe that our project shouldn’t be penalised over the ongoing debate about eco-tourism in the area,’ Mr Clark said.
The property was purchased by the Clarks after 18 months of research, which Mr Clark believed ‘ticked all the boxes for their proposed plan’. Some of those ticks included the proximity to cultural and ecological features.
‘We believe our development would provide a unique and exciting experience for visitors to this region… we would love the opportunity to come and fulfil our dreams in that respect,’ said Mr Clark.
The final DA submitted reduced the number of glamping tents to two and reduced the size of the tents.
‘We reduced the number of tents to two after the councillor briefing and took into account the neighbour’s concern,’ said Mr Clark, ‘and we reduced the size of the tents for their visual impact.’
Cr Neil Marks spoke to Mr Clark about the staff recommendation, which was to go back to the developer for a ‘lot more time and expense to re-present the DA’.
Shaun Moore is an adjoining landholder to the Corndale property and has lived in the Corndale valley for more than thirteen years. He said the DA would impact on their privacy and weaken the value of their property.
‘We love where we live for its farming aspect and the rural lifestyle,’ said Mr Moore. ‘We have put our life savings into our home and lifestyle block and intend to retire there… we never thought we would have to fight for our lifestyle in such an ideal setting.’
Mr Moore acknowledged that his family do not enjoy conflict but have had ‘no consultation and felt they were not considered fairly in this plan’.
Road access and limited sight in both directions of the property in question causes alarm for Mr Moore who referred to a major accident near the site that his wife was involved in.
‘She was attempting to turn into our driveway and was hit behind by another vehicle travelling at 100km/h. The driver did not see her because of poor visibility,’ said Mr Clark.
The slope of the property was also of concern to Mr Moore.
Cr Ray Houston said the development was not suitable for the site and made tighter amendments to Council’s recommendation.
‘No amount of change at this point for this particular DA can get it right,’ said Cr Houston. ‘I am concerned about access and line of vision on the road, the impact on the local neighbours. Buffer zones haven’t been addressed yet. I would hate to see us test this and get it wrong.’
Cr Gianpiero Battista questioned Council staff on costs involved in improving the access. A ballpark figure was not available but it was assumed to be very expensive.
Cr Marks said the options narrowed down to a ‘slow no or a fast no’.
‘A fast no is better as it costs less money along the way and everybody can move on and get to the next stage of their lives,’ Cr Marks said.
Council staff confirmed that the amended recommendation was a no.
Cr Greg Bennett showed concern over buffers.
‘I am finding that our developments in rural zones do not have adequate buffers,’ Cr Bennett said. ‘There will be land=use conflicts with eco-tourism in an agricultural zone.’
LCC manager of development and compliance Peter Jeuken told Council that ‘what has happened in the past prior to our current LEP is that we had provisions for rural tourist facilities’.
‘Rural tourist facilities were essentially a farmstay accommodation where the need for buffers and planning control were limited as that was what you were going to experience in that type of accommodation,’ said Mr Jeuken.
‘What we have introduced in the new LEP is the concept of eco-tourism development and that needs to be dealt with in a different way where our Development Control Plan (DCP) does not address this issue,’ said Mr Jeuken.
‘There is no control in the DCP that applies a buffer to tourist development in a rural zone at the moment,’ he said.