A DA has just gone on public exhibition for a 15 unit, two storey complex in the midst of a large suburban block between Norton and Camden Streets, Ballina, not far from North Creek. Neighbouring residents have a number of concerns.
The ‘Norton Breeze’ proposal involves demolishing a squash court, swimming pool, three houses and a number of trees, including a large red cedar, to make way for the L-shaped, gated development, which will be surrounded by more traditional Ballina housing.
A number of nearby local residents have written to Ballina Council about issues including traffic, flood risk, rubbish collection and the question of whether such a development is appropriate for their area at all.
Camden Street resident Dennis Hall said he considers the proposed DA to be an ‘over-development’ of the site.
He says the impermeable additions to the site area (approximately 4,000 square metres) will substantially increase water run-off on to neighbouring streets and properties, which were already severely affected by the last flooding, and is calling for an independent storm water assessment.
Although the proposed development is called Norton Breeze, the Norton Street access will be converted to a laneway and bin area, with vehicle access all coming via Camden Street.
Local residents are worried about a massive increase of traffic along this quiet cul-de-sac, as well as a prospective shortage of parking, with only single car spaces in the integrated development and no room within the complex for on-street parking.
Neighbour Angela Goldie says, ‘I envisage that parking will become a logistical nightmare. When there is no room in the gated community to park vehicles, where will they go? Camden Street and Norton Street have very few parking places.’
She said an extra 50 or more vehicle movements per day in Camden Street would have a ‘very negative’ effect on local road safety.
Neighbours Peter and Amanda Byrne say ‘the build process will require a huge quantity of heavy vehicle movement for an extended time frame.’
The developers have argued that the removal of the squash court will reduce noise, with their ‘exclusive community’ likely to increase the overall value of neighbouring properties, as well as bringing in ‘economic and commercial value to local business, consultants and trades with an expenditure in the vicinity of $22m.’
They describe the target market as ‘anyone from young families to down-sizers and retirees.’
Neighbouring resident Alexandria Thomaschütz says ‘there are a lot of dwellings being placed on a small and difficult to access site.’ She is worried that the DA will impact on local quality of life with increased traffic noise, parking problems and raised flood risk at times of king tides and heavy rain.
In addition, she said, ‘Having the property built up so high will also cause overshadowing on to my property.’
Neighbours Peter and Amanda Byrne have written to council to say, ‘This development is too large. It should be reduced by half the number of units and contain adequate infrastructure so as not to negatively impact the local community.’
Angela Goldie said, ‘We live in a beautiful part of Ballina and the North Creek is a cherished asset.
‘In my experience I have found that locals treat the shoreline and its surrounds in a careful and sympathetic way, aware that we all have a responsibility to care for it.
‘Environmental concerns are paramount. I am concerned that the development in question will have a negative effect on the waterway, and has totally underestimated the fragility of the river system,’ she said.
‘We have an example of this fragility from the recent rain event with erosion and sink holes opening up along sections of the riverbank.’
Another neighbour, Ian Rinkin, told The Echo that his two main concerns about Norton Breeze were the ‘huge increase in vehicle traffic’ expected during the two year construction period (and beyond), along with the flooding potential from the site to Camden Street.
The full DA (2022-222) and associated documentation is available to view online here. This project is just one of many currently wending its way through Ballina’s congested planning system, as the housing crisis bites and developers seize new opportunities.
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