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Byron Shire
April 14, 2021

Developers’ request exposes Lismore to ‘increased financial risk’

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A section of the North Lismore Plateau. (Darren Coyne)
A section of the North Lismore Plateau. (Darren Coyne)

Darren Coyne

Developers of the proposed North Lismore Plateau residential development want Lismore City Council to bear the cost of providing water and wastewater infrastructure within the development.

They also want the council to take over responsibility for negotiating access agreements and acquiring land and easements required by the development.

The proposed North Lismore Plateau development, if it proceeds, would provide houses for more than 3,700 people, and would be the largest urban development undertaken since the creation of Goonellabah.

Under current arrangements, developers are fully responsibile for the delivery of assets internal to the development.

But in a report to tonight’s meeting, executive staff have recommended that councillors bow to the wishes of the developers and amend its Development Contributions Plans for Water Supply and Wastewater (DSPs) accordingly.

Staff point out that by agreeing to make the changes, the council ‘may’ facilitate the proposed development of the Plateau which ‘may’, in turn, promote economic growth and contribute to the revitalisation of the Lismore CBD.

‘However, by including additional assets within the DSP, council is making a commitment to provide these assets,’ staff warn.

‘This commitment would expose council to increased financial risk. ‘Consequently, careful thought needs to be given to council’s role with respect to the delivery of internal infrastructure and the details of any related agreements with developers and associated strategic planning documents.’

Lismore councillor Vanessa Ekins.
Lismore councillor Vanessa Ekins.

At its July meeting, all councillors except Vanessa Ekins, voted to go with a staff recommendation to ‘forward the planning proposal to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for a “gateway determination” so that the public exhibition can occur concurrent with government agency consultation’.

North Lismore Aboriginal man Michael Ryan won a court victory against the proposed north Lismore plateau development. Now he is preparing to fight another rezoning attempt, Picture: Darren Coyne.
North Lismore Aboriginal man Michael Ryan won a court victory against the proposed north Lismore plateau development. Now he is preparing to fight another rezoning attempt, Picture: Darren Coyne.

A previous rezoning attempt was declared invalid by the NSW Environment Court after Bundjalung man Mickey Ryan had taken the council to task because the rezoning proposal placed on public exhibition, which contained environmental zones, was not the same as the proposal approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

The Department had removed the environmental zones.

Despite that setback, Lismore’s mayor Jenny Dowell said the council was committed to making the development a reality.

But Cr Ekins maintains the cost to ratepayers is too much.

Cr Ekins has argued that the council was already stumping up $20 million on water and sewer headworks, which had led to an increase in the combined typical residential bill for water and wastewater services of approximately $105.00 per annum.

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  1. How about we just set up a benefit trust for these developers !
    That way we can be sure that they ,and there descendents can be properly cared for. These are obviously basket cases and therefore ,as is traditional, the rate payers must pay and pay !
    Hey ! how about another– boat — I’m sure they would like that.

  2. Oh poor developers! They need council to hold their little hands because they can’t afford to pay for water and wastewater. How about installing big rainwater tanks on every lot along with composting toilets? That way Lismore residents’ rates don’t have to skyrocket.
    If developers succeed in getting this concession, next they will be demanding council pay for all the infrastructure for developments. They are holding council ransom on the bogus hope of increased economic growth.
    What we need now is intelligent and sustainable housing – good on Cr Ekins for standing up to the developers who are constantly trying to twist council around their little fingers with empty promises or threats of lawsuits.


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