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Byron Shire
July 5, 2022

Cudgera Creek Agricultural Food Hub extension of DA condition taken to workshop

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Proposed Cudgera Creek Agricultural Food Hub.

A request for an extension of time for the development application (DA21/0812) for the proposed Cudgera Creek Agricultural Food Hub that relies on an allocation of 100ET Wastewater Entitlements at the Hastings Point water treatment plant was deferred to a workshop following extensive debate at the last Tweed Shire planning meeting (16 June). 

The original allocation of 100ET sewerage capacity to the development had strict conditions set including Condition 4 which ‘required Development Consent to be obtained by May 2022 but this condition has not been met,’ stated the staff report. The proponent (developer) was seeking a 12-month extension to this condition due to delays related to COVID, extended exhibition period and ‘time taken to collate the large volume of public submissions and subsequent responses required’.

A motion to approve the extension of time was put by Councillor Warren Polglase (Conservative) and seconded by Cr James Owen (Liberal). 

Councillor Owen said he had ‘some concerns but it was a state government decision’ on the DA. 

The staff report stated that ‘There are no valid reasons for refusal of the requested 12 month extension. The approval of DA21/0812 has been delayed for a number of legitimate reasons. Council’s agreement to the 12 month extension is therefore recommended’.

Artists impression of the Proposed Cudgera Creek Agricultural Food Hub.

Needs have changed

However, Mayor Chris Cherry said that the situation had changed since the council originally allocated the 100ET to the DA in 2020 and that providing the food hub with that capacity was not necessarily still the best allocation. 

‘I was also one of the councillors who passed this decision 18 months ago when we had capacity in the Hastings Point water treatment plant. The difference between now and then is what has changed. Talking to small businesses they are having trouble gtting workers so the employment factor is not the most important at the moment,’ she said.

‘I think if we have capacity in the Hasting Point water treatment plant, as the water authority we have to determine whether we have enough information in that report that that allocation is still available.

‘The planning department of NSW may come down with increased densities. We don’t have the allocated ETs to cope with that. I am very concerned, we may need to allocate those ETs to houses and future families. That is why I have changed my mind on this issue since 2020. 

’I’m not supportive of approving this extension at this time. I think this development needs to sort out its own ETs.’

Councillor Dr Noal Firth pointed out that there was also a lot of ‘concern in the community over the industrial scale of the development on this rural zoned land’ as well as concerns in relation to flooding and potential fill to be used on the site. 

Liberal councillor Rhiannon Brinsmead then put forward the suggestion that the request be taken to a workshop. This was seconded by Independent councillor Meredith Dennis. All councillors, except Cr Polglase, voted in favour of taking the request to a workshop to gain a better understanding of the implications of allocating the 100ET sewerage capacity to the Food Hub development.

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