The long DA process for the proposed residential subdivision at 20 North Creek Road Lennox Head ended at yesterday’s Ballina Council meeting, with only Councillor Keith Williams voting against the project, on environmental grounds.
99 residential lots and five super lots (subject to future development applications) have been proposed for the 15 hectare site, as well as new internal roads.
The development has had various names over the years, most recently Crest Lennox Head, but the applicant for DA 2018/51 was Ballina Island Developments.
The latest proposal is the revision of a larger, earlier plan.
Speaking in support of the development, Cr Ben Smith noted that the project had been ‘going on for years’, and the developer had addressed earlier concerns about environmental issues and drainage.
He said the size of the development had been scaled back since its original inception, and it was ‘consistent with the rest of the urban environment in the area, the broader plan for the shire and everything else that we’re doing.’
Cr Smith acknowledged that there was lots of change in Lennox Head at the moment and ‘people are rightly concerned, but I still think this is valid’.
Cr Sharon Cadwallader thanked council staff for their thoroughness and work on the project and also gave ‘thanks for all the submissions from people which have led to changes in the development application.’
She noted that all the new homes would be connected to reticulated water and also have tanks.
Cr Cadwallader said the project had been in the pipeline for a long time and that ‘we could and should approve it today.’
Cr Phillip Meehan said he was a supporter of the development as long as the sound walls proposed around the reservoir side of the block were removed.
Council staff said these were no longer a part of the proposal.
Speaking in opposition to the development, Cr Keith Williams spoke about his concerns for the freshwater wetland and endangered ecological community on the site.
Matt Wood, Manager of Strategic Planning at Ballina Council, said council staff says were not convinced initially that there wouldn’t be impacts, but were satisfied that extra measures which had been added to the project since by the developer would adequately protect these areas, with the applicant agreeing to ‘significant mitigation’.
Cr Williams pressed on the question of the natural soak between the rainforest EEC and wetland being identified as ‘important hydrological function’ to the wetland.
Why were there no measures to protect it?
Mr Wood said the revised application included a design of basins with ‘capacity to dial up or down’ the amount of water that filters from the site through into the wetland, which meant volume and flow could be controlled and managed.
Community opponents’ points about extra traffic and other concerns were not discussed, and the main environmental impacts of concern to most councillors seemed to be the proposed 5X2 metre advertising signage for the development along North Creek Road, which was rejected after some discussion, as a ‘blight on the eye of drivers’ and superfluous.
As Mayor David Wright put it, ‘two people asked me yesterday when the land was for sale and were there views of the sea?’
The motion to allow the development was passed with only Cr Williams dissenting.