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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Call to withdraw Iron Gates development for Evans Head

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The site of the proposed Iron Gates development. (supplied)
The site of the proposed Iron Gates development. (supplied)

Opponents of the proposed Iron Gates residential estate at Evans Head are calling on Richmond Valley Council to withdraw the development application from public exhibition.

The DA is on public display until December 7, but critics argue that the state government has not approved a draft master plan that has been lodged with the application.

Dr Richard Gates.
Dr Richard Gates.

Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome president Dr Richard Gates said the council was putting ‘the cart before the horse’ by exhibiting the DA without an approved master plan.

A previous application was withdrawn last year because the state government refused to waiver the requirement of a master plan, despite a request from the developer, Mr Graeme Ingles of Gold Coral Pty Ltd.

Mr Ingles was the director the original application to develop the site, which was knocked on the head by the NSW Land and Environment Court following legal challenges.

Opponent Al Oshlack, one of the original litigants against the development, has told Echonetdaily that he would again commence court action if the DA was not withdrawn.

Mr Oshlack said the council had ignored the advice of lawyers in proceeding with the DA, which relies on existing illegal infrastructure that the court had ordered should be remediated.

Remediation was never carried out on the site, and as Echonetdaily reported last year, further clearing of the land had been carried out without authorization.

Meanwhile, Dr Gates said the council was wasting the public’s time by exhibiting a DA that did not have the required material.

‘Approximately 60 objections were made to the 2014 DA including objections from Defence because of the proximity of the Iron Gates to the RAAF’s Air Weapons facility nearby,’ Dr Gates said.

‘And NSW Planning knocked back a request by the developer for a Master Plan for the site to be waived forcing the developer back to the drawing board.

Dr Gates said he was surprised that the Draft Master Plan had been made available for public comment at this stage because the matter needed to be considered by NSW Planning and the Planning Minister Rob Stokes before the public had its say.

‘Whether or not the development proceeds is contingent on the findings of the Planning Minister with regard to the Master Plan.

‘The Minister may accept it as is or reject it or request amendments.

‘No matter the outcome Richmond Valley Council seems to be putting the cart before the horse as it did with last year’s DA where there was no Master Plan and the developer had asked for the Master Plan to be waived.

‘The requirement was not waived and so the public was asked to make a comment on a DA which had no standing because of the absence of the Master Plan.

‘The public and council’s time was being wasted and could be again this time. ‘

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  1. There is enough material here to make a sitcom that would be hilarious if not for the fact that the proposed development is entirely inappropriate for the site and the community of Evans Head. The revised flora and fauna assessment for this proposal is even more laughable than the original which was strongly criticised by one of the regions premier ecologists for fundamental errors in sampling and assessment.

    The fact that council can consider exhibiting such rubbish makes one question whether they are asleep at the wheel. On the one hand they offer the developer reduced contributions and then do them the injustice of accepting the revised DA for public exhibition.

    The developer and his consultants continue to treat the community with disregard as indicated by their responses to the objections lodged last Christmas. Hardly surprising they are now exhibiting in the silly season again as this would seem a standard tactic of most dubious proponents.

    My support goes to people like Al and Richard! Unfortunately they will again be tainted as ratbag nimby’s for taking the time and energy to care. Must go now and check on where National Parks are up to with regards to sand mining at Black Rocks ;-(

  2. You have hit the mark there Mr. English.

    Having scrutinised the published storm water management plan for Iron Gates I note that there is no built in guarantee that solid waste and toxic chemical traps will be maintained regularly to ensure no escape into the Evans River in times of floods and heavy downpours.

    It is well known that we are in a period of extreme weather events. What guarantee is there that current building and stormwater dissipation standards will stand up?

    Lismore Base Hospital new building collapse is a good example.

    On the question of Ilmenite mining in Bundjalung National Park I also note that NPWS appears determined to devastate the environment around the Black Rocks Camping Ground for 5 years by quarrying ilmenite from the banks of Jerusalem Creek without a clear ecological reason. (In my opinion)

    One can only wonder.

  3. Evans Head does not have the infrastructure to support this development, and it threatens the only tidal estuary on the Evans River which already often fails water quality tests. J


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