A 239-lot camping ground, along with 270 parking spaces, associated shower/toilet blocks, 12 tourist cabins, a yoga ‘temple’ and day spa facilities are all proposed for 1897 Coolamon Scenic Drive, just north of Mullumbimby.
At an estimated cost of $1,800,000, the 327-page DA lodged with Council by Keywaters Pty Ltd says the 16 ha lot is zoned RU2 and is a mix of native bush, Camphor Laurels and cleared land.
Council has extended the public submission deadline to April 26.
It has sparked concerns from residents over traffic, amenity, fire and flood safety.
As for the traffic impact on the narrow and notoriously dangerous road, around 412 additional movements a day (morning and afternoon peak hour) could be generated, according to the traffic report.
It reads, ‘Coolamon Scenic Drive currently carries in the order of 173 vehicles per hour during the morning peak period and 153 per hour during the afternoon period. The daily volume is approximately 1,600 vehicles per day.’
It’s also proposed that vehicles up to 12.5 metres, or Heavy Rigid Vehicles (HRV) would access the property. This includes ‘large recreational vehicles (motorhomes) and waste-collection vehicles.’
All sewage is proposed to be discharged to the Mullumbimby STP.
The local impact assessment claims it meets the needs of low-cost accommodation and protects and enhances the environmental values through habitat protection and reforestation. Ten people will be employed to run the facility, claims the assessment.
Residents who contacted The Echo did not want to be named, but pointed to the landowner’s previously rejected affordable-housing expression of interest (EOI) proposal late last year. It was submitted as part of Council’s affordable housing EOI, which also includes Saddle Road.
Previously rejected EOI
According to the staff report on the proposal, flooding and terrain constraints were reasons given for its rejection.
The November 23, 2017 agenda attachment (page 691) by staff says, ‘A caravan park and camping ground is permitted with consent… and as such the proposal could proceed with a DA.
‘It is considered that… a development may be able to provide benefits in the short term for homeless or those experiencing rental stress…’
One resident told The Echo, ‘This is not only a residential issue, but will affect the whole community of Mullum big way.’
‘They said Coolamon Scenic Drive is already unsafe’ and there are ‘a lot of accidents happening.’
‘Try the road when only a small car is trying to turn… potholes are a massive problem. There’s no footpath at all from [the] beginning of Main Arm Road up to the venue. This will put campers as well as (local) motorists in danger, especially after dark! There are not sufficient streetlights either on the way up.
‘Mullum will be a second Byron: overrun by tourists in a big way. We are talking about 530 campers plus 10 caretakers here. Mullum’s population from the 2016 census was 3,596; 540 people means 15 per cent is added to the whole population of the town. Imagine this during festival times.’
‘The DA claims the big indoor recreation (yoga) hall and day spa will be used ‘on an occasional basis (eg once per month).
‘Who would build such an expensive hall and use it once a month? There will surely be more events happening, which the developer claims as “it may also be used for community events”.
‘We know what that means: Events that disturb the whole neighbourhood on a regular basis. Plus a traffic hazard around the area. We think that is his real intention: To create an event location plus the possibility for hosting a lot of people. This is where the big money comes from. And that would kill the beauty and peacefulness around this area here.’
Another resident told The Echo the internal roads would be unsealed. ‘This will create heaps of dust in the dry with the potential of 270 cars in and out of a day and night. There is to be lighting throughout the site.
‘We already have two campgrounds in Mullum – the showground campgrounds are putting back into our community.
‘The money raised out there has improved our showgrounds and we now have a show back to the way it used to be. All because of people staying there.
‘It impacts on nobody and those who are there bought knowing there was a campground beside them.
‘There have been many accidents on this section of road over the years. One car even went down over the bank and through the fence just to the south of where his gateway is. Vision is very poor and the road is narrow.
‘This site does flood, and during the floods in March/April 2017, [the landowner’s] own dam flooded the front paddock. Horse owners renting the paddock over the past 12 months have told me he banned them from going in there during floods. We can’t let this happen.’
The DA application # 110/2018 is available on the Byron Council website www.byron.nsw.gov.au.