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Byron Shire
June 22, 2021

Controversial GemLife DA at West Ballina upgraded

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West Ballina DA notice on site. Photo David Lowe.

A plan to build a ‘manufactured home park’ including 300 lots and recreation facilities has been re-submitted to Ballina Shire Council after its budget was upgraded from $30 million to $48 million.

The development is planned for land adjoining Emigrant Creek, and is bounded on other sides by River Street and the flood-prone Burns Point Ferry Road.

West Ballina site plans, with yellow area showing where the 300 lots are planned.

The proponents say they only intend to develop 14 hectares of the 56 hectare site, with the project planned to proceed in four stages.

Local planning consultancy Planners North describe the GemLife development as a ‘resort-style retirement village, boasting a revolutionary concept for over 50s living, with a primary focus on health, well-being and social interactions.’

West Ballina residents have previously objected to the proposal on grounds including traffic, environmental issues, water and flooding concerns, and impacts to local residents.

Because the project’s revised budget moves it into the definition of ‘regionally significant development’ in the eyes of State Environmental Planning Policy, Ballina Shire Council has referred the project to the Northern Regional Planning Panel, which will make the ultimate determination.

Proposed GemLife development at West Ballina.

Ballina Council is still the consent authority and is responsible for carrying out the technical assessment of the DA.

GemLife has announced plans for a similar development at Skennars Head, north of Ballina.

The West Ballina project is on the agenda for discussion at today’s Ballina Shire Council’s meeting, which can be viewed online here.

Panorama from corner of proposed GemLife development site yesterday. Photo David Lowe.

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  1. apart from the extremely high cost of downsizing into one of the units, Over 50 Lifestyle properties are a necessity. WHY? Look I’m 67, I intend to downsized from my 3 level 4 bedroom home into a single level 2 -3 bedroom home in 3 years.

    When I do move I will be freeing up a substantial family home and this is my point, .something like a Gem Life may be just the ticket for my husband and myself.

    Australia’s ageing population is not going to stop ageing but they will continue to downsize. Perhaps we need to rethink how many kids we have and actually increase the number from 2 to 4 or more. This as time goes on will mean there will be more tax payers, more tax payers can result in lower income tax to pay and better benefits for the whole population.


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