Submissions have closed on the controversial change of development plan for the large block at the corner of Snapper and Montwood Drive in Lennox Head, with Ballina Shire Council, Ballina MP Tamara Smith and local councillor Kiri Dicker all opposed.
The developer, Clarence Property, previously planned a retirement facility for the site, on the edge of the fast-expanding Epiq area. This has since been revised in favour of a plan to build a medium-density integrated housing development of over 100 dwellings.
The development is no longer in the hands of Ballina Council, with Clarence Property applying to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to change the planned use of the land.
Locals are concerned about extra traffic and pressure on existing facilities, including schools. The site also adjoins endangered ecological communities and the habitat of threatened species.
Ballina councillor’s view
Lennox-based Cr Kiri Dicker attended a recent presentation by the developer to the Lennox Head Residents’ Association, and has also read the submissions from Ballina Shire Council and Tamara Smith MP.
Both are opposed to the change of use proposal in its current form.
‘Council is not the consent authority for this approval and is therefore only able to make a submission, which it has done,’ said Cr Dicker.
‘Council’s submission raises serious concern for the impact of the development on the adjacent Conservation Management Zone, which in recent years has seen a steep decline in threatened species habitat (the reasons for this are unknown and need to be further investigated urgently),’ she said.
Cr Dicker says other concerns include:
- The lack of a proper buffer zone (the developer proposes to build a public footpath between the development and the conservation management zone which is not supported by Council).
- Insufficient mosquito management.
- Insufficent technical studies to determine the impact on of the modification on biodiversity and stormwater management and discharge.
Density and diversity
Cr Kiri Dicker says, ‘In principle, I support medium density and “integrated” development (a variety of housing options in a lot) as an option for the Ballina Shire because it provides diversity of housing options (including allowing older people to downsize and young families to get a foot in the housing market) and makes sense from a climate perspective.’
She says smaller houses require less water and energy to run, as well as being easier to heat and cool, ‘BUT it needs to be developed with these issues in mind. If not, we end up with over-populated areas in places where infrastructure can’t keep pace.
‘The proposed development includes lot sizes that are FAR BELOW the mimimum lot size in the Ballina LEP (as small as 123sqm in some cases!!)’
Cr Dicker says Ballina Council is concerned that several lots don’t have enough space for street frontage of garbage bins, won’t have an aspect suitable for future solar, and exceed height limits of the Local Environment Plan.
‘Council have also raised concern that the proposed central public reserve is too small and too steep to meet council standards,’ she said. ‘What was described by the developer at the presentation as a “pocket park” is effectively good for nothing.’
Cr Dicker said, ‘Do not be fooled into thinking that these tiny lots will be affordable. We’ve already seen bigger lots at Aureus enter the market for almost $1 million. We need to start pushing back on the idea that more housing = affordable housing. IT’S NOT TRUE!
‘Affordable housing is a product of government regulation,’ she said.
‘Ballina Shire Council has released enough land to meet projected demand for housing for the next 15-20 years at least. The current approved use for Super Lot 5 as a retirement facility is EXACTLY the kind of diversity we need as it will enable older couples living in big houses to downsize and free up space for younger families.’
Cr Dicker said, ‘The proposed change of use to medium density development will result in hundreds more children living in the Epiq estate (a retirement facility would have 0) at a time when our schools are under pressure and we don’t even have a new site for Lennox Head Primary.
‘Not to mention adding to our already limited supply of parking.’
Although the deadline of submissions has now passed, Cr Dicker says she will be watching carefully to see how the state government responds to the concerns raised.