Two draft Voluntary Planning Agreements between the Lismore City Council and the Winten Group, one of the two developer groups hoping to build houses on the North Lismore Plateau, is set to be placed on public exhibition.
But numerous councillors last night expressed their disappointment that the second development group, known at the The Plateau North Group, had not yet signed up to VPAs or lodged a development application.
TPNG representative Andrew Purtle told the council meeting that the group was till waiting for reports to be finalised and was not in favour of the council compulsorily acquiring land for easements through the property to service land owned by the Winten Group.
TPNG solicitors had informed council staff that while the group was willing to continue negotiations over VPAs, it was not in a position to lodge a development application until mid April. The group’s planning timeline had been disrupted by the need to amend its plan following the receipt of an updated ecologist’s report.
Winten Group representative Jim Punch told the meeting that his group was ready to go.
Mr Punch said it had come as a shock when they lodged their DA to learn that the TPNG was requesting more time.
‘We have already spent $2 million and we have $10 million to spend on stage one and we are ready to push ahead but we can’t if don’t have a water supply,’ he said.
Cr Gianpiero Battista said the community had spent $24 million building water and sewerage infrastructure to service developments on the plateau and expected a return.
‘We have built infrastructure for them to make blocks and make money. Our community has spent $24 million to get these gentlemen, or groups, to come together and sort this out,’ he said.
Cr Greg Bennett moved an unsuccessful motion calling on councillors to meet with TPNG, but staff indicated that any face-to-face meetings with the developers would breach the council’s own policy on such matters.
Mayor Isaac Smith said there was an expectation that the development move forward.
The council decided to exhibit the Winten Group’s VPAs and continue negotiations with TPNG.