Residents of Lennox Head living near the large, muddy site at the junction of Montwood Drive and Snapper Drive say they have been left in the dark about what’s planned for their immediate neighbourhood. Ballina councillors seem to have also been out of the loop, with a change of use application for Super Lot 5 now with the state government.
Once the fertile centre of a farm, the big fenced-off area became the HQ for construction while the surrounding EPIQ development was being built. Since then, the land at the bottom of the valley has seen large amounts of earthwork, but there is no signage about what is planned.
There has been no community consultation about the site since 2018.
Super Lot 5 contains acid sulphate soils, and adjoins an endangered ecological community containing a large number of native frogs, birds and other wildlife.
The area is also directly upstream of a wetland, which goes on to drain into North Creek.
The Montwood/Snapper site had initially been earmarked for a residential aged care facility, but documents lodged with the NSW Department of Planning and Environment show Clarence Property are now in the advanced stages of planning a higher density ‘integrated housing’ development on the site, with internal roads and two storey buildings.
The submission period for public comment has already expired, after a short exhibition window (from 8 to 21 July 2022) earlier this month.
Ballina Council’s role in recent years has been limited to approving an earthworks stockpile on the land of excavated material from the EPIQ estate. That happened just before Christmas in 2020.
Council staff have recently been given extra time to make a response to the DA modification in regard to environmental concerns, including a dam which has been built on the corner of the site (and has been overflowing recently).
It’s unclear whether this dam is also the source of the water which has been spilling out of the site across the footpath and on to the road every time it rains.
According to residents, this large development will further add to the traffic and other challenges of the area, which is experiencing significant growing pains as multiple residential subdivisions advance.
At the time of publication, Clarence Property have not responded to requests from The Echo for more information about what is planned for the Montwood/Snapper Drive site.