Byron Shire councillor Alan Hunter’s farm on Pinegroves Road will now operate a road transport terminal despite strong and unified opposition from neighbours, while in Kingsvale Road an addiction rehabilitation centre will be established, despite opposition from some neighbours.
Last week The Echo reported that six of Cr Hunter’s neighbours contributed to fund a town planner to examine his ‘change of use’ application independently.
Deficient report and application: town planner
During Thursday’s morning access town planner Graham Meineke, who is also a Lismore City councillor, slammed the staff report, telling councillors that ‘the report was deficient, as was the application.’
‘This was initially advertised with a maximum of three deliveries a day, but no data were provided,’ he said. ‘Later, it was changed to ten movements a day. That’s an increase of 300 per cent and as such should go back on exhibition.’
Later Mr Meineke told The Echo that the application ‘should have also had a traffic and noise assessment’.
He said, ‘The distance on Tyagarah Road, which comes off Pinegroves, doesn’t meet Council’s traffic sight or stopping distance requirements. All northern rivers councils have adopted this and I thought that would be a consideration with this change-of-use request.’
Cr Duncan Dey failed in an attempt at the meeting to refuse Cr Hunter’s ‘change of use’ application as ‘the site distance for heavy vehicles leaving Pinegroves Road is inadequate as it meets Tyagarah Road’.
Only Crs Cameron and Dey supported that, while a foreshadowed motion by Cr Hunter’s fellow team members, Crs Woods and Cubis, saw the application gain unanimous support (Cr Paul Spooner was absent).
But Cr Hunter, who is a former Nationals Party federal candidate, will have strings attached to his operation. The approval will expire in two years and only a maximum number of ten non-articulated vehicle movements per week are allowed with a maximum unladen weight of four tonnes. The hours of operation will be 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. As Cr Hunter had a pecuniary interest, he left the room and did not debate or vote.
One of at least six residents to be affected, Angus Way, told The Echo, ‘Like others who saw the presentations in Council, it was hard [for me] to come to terms with’.
‘We struggled with how a transport terminal could be approved without a traffic study or a noise impact statement.
‘That was compounded as no councillor requested them when the deficiency was pointed out by both sides of the DA presentations.
‘For a councillor’s development application to be approved after only one question did not give the appearance of a robust debate, especially given the direct impact that this will have on a number of residents; the potential for catastrophic vehicle accidents and the precedent for development it will have on the broader community.
‘We are very concerned about the lack of due diligence in the “Independent Report” that was commissioned by Council staff… We feel that the conditions that the council applied to the DA are not able to be measured accurately and will have no impact in the containment of vehicle movements on Tyagarah and Pinegroves roads.
‘A daylight restriction on heavy vehicles is cold comfort to residents who live a couple of metres from a very steep access to a Road Transport Terminal.’
Kingsvale Rd addiction treatment facility
Councillors voted on another Myocum application, which will allow the conversion and expansion of existing dwelling on Kingsvale Road, to create a ‘transitional group home’, or addiction treatment facility.
Proponents and opposers addressed Council on The Nungkari Treatment Centre, as it is proposed, during morning access. Speaking against, resident Jon Veranese raised concerns over security, the lack of public transport and police presence in the area.
‘Our lifestyle will be affected,’ he said. ‘What happens if this is on-sold or fails?’ he asked.
The facility’s developer Kylie Beattie spoke in favour. ‘I was treated in a facility like this [proposal] and it saved my life.’
‘We bought the land after meeting with Council and engaged a town planner.’ She told councillors a lot had been invested and she wanted to demonstrate they were addressing residents’ concerns.
‘There are many uneducated views about addiction,’ she said, and added that the facility would cater more towards eating disorders and the like.
Cr Wanchap was the only councillor who voted against the motion and spoke about the precedent it would be setting.