Skennars Head development
Ballina Councillors deferred the decision on increasing the size of the commercial zone at the controversial Intrapac development at Skennars Head at their meeting on Thursday October 25. Staff had recommended the amended proposal from developers be accepted, however, Cr Nathan Willis moved to defer the decision with a view to decreasing the size of the commercial floor space area. Concerns over the increasing commercial space in the vicinity of Lennox Head was also highlighted by Cr Ben Smith and he noted the recent approval of the larger shopping centre by the JRPP at Epic and the potential impact on the Lennox CBD if too much commercial space was made available.
Mayor David Wright has since said he will be putting in a rescission motion that raised concerns with other councillors that the briefing will not go ahead leaving councillors in the dark.
Speaking to Echonetdaily both Mayor David Wright and Steve Barnier, group manager for strategic planning at Ballina Council, confirmed that the briefing will go ahead.
‘We want to make sure that it comes back to council quickly’ said Mayor Wright.
‘The briefing didn’t have a report time back to council and we want it reporting backing in November. I don’t want to cost the community any more money.’
The financial cost appears to stem from the case from earlier this year when Intrpac took council to the Land and Environment Court over a separate development at Cumbalum in West Ballina on the basis of deemed refusal (council didn’t make a decision on the development application (DA) within the prescribed time frame). The developers won the case and were able to go ahead with the development while the council was left with a million dollar bill.
However, Mr Barnier told Echonetdaily that the question that the council is dealing with is not a DA but a planning proposal and therefore they have ‘no appeal right’.
‘Their only option would be to refer the matter to the department of planning and to remove council as the decision making body’.
Asphalt plant and sand quarry
Council cannot prevent extractive industries anywhere in a rural zone or in a zone in which agriculture is allowed due to overriding state planning policies. The result being that council is also unable to reject an asphalt or concrete batching plant at an approved extractive industry site. Therefore, staff recommended amendments to the Ballina development control plans (DCP) to specify minimum buffer distances and Cr Parry’s amendment required the submission to call for an amendment to the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) to prohibit extractive industries within 1,000m of residential areas. This was supported unanimously.
Council amended the staff recommendation on the applications to be made to the Building Better Regions Fund, supporting the Airport runway improvement project of $20 million and the dual-laning of the Ballina town entry for $35 million, but adding a bid for the $7 million Lennox Head Village Renewal project.
‘I was delighted to get the support of councillors for this key project to help Lennox cope with the growth its is experiencing,’ said Cr Keith Williams.
Late in the agenda Council approved the project to replace all Shire street lights with LED bulbs with the proposal paying for itself within four years, Council allocated $750,000 toward the cost via an internal loan.