26.5 C
Byron Shire
March 4, 2024

Evans Head Iron Gates site for sale as developer appeals DA refusal

Latest News

Government convenes Coastal Water Safety Roundtable today

NSW Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib will lead an expert roundtable looking at how more lives can be saved on NSW beaches after more than a dozen coastal drownings this summer.

Other News

Weekly fun run in Ocean Shores

A free community run in Ocean Shores is happening every Monday morning, and organiser Giovanni Ginocchio encourages everyone to get involved. 

Missing person, Gold Coast

Police are seeking public assistance to locate a 39-year-old woman missing from the Gold Coast.

Stolen ute, ransacked service station and vandalised police cars

Stolen Brunswick Heads ute allegedly taken on wild adventure ransacking service station and being party to vandalising police cars before being abandoned in the bush at Coraki.

Decline of naturism

The closing of the nude beach at Tyagarah can be seen as another step in the long decline of...

Protections can’t wait another seven years for NSW critical habitat 

Protections are needed now for native habitat in NSW as the state has seen a significant increase in native...

The zucchini omelette returns!

Victoria Cosford After a near 12-month absence, brother and sister team Rob and Michelle Costanzo from Nomadic Kitchen are coming...

The NO Iron Gates pop-up display at the NRPP DA hearing in August.

The refusal of the development application (DA) for the Iron Gates development in August this year led the developer to appeal the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) decision in the Land and Environment Court (L&EC). Yet, after close to 30 years of trying to develop the site, having company liquidations and the failure to do L&EC ordered remediations Graeme Ingles, under his company Goldcoral Pty Ltd, have now put the site up for sale. 

The controversial DA which is on flood-prone and high-fire risk land, was refused by the NRPP on 30 August, 2022 following two independent planning assessments, one from Richmond Valley Council and one from NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DOPE) that both recommended refusal. The NRPP cited a number of substantial grounds for the DA’s refusal following the public hearing at Evans Head including inter alia design problems, cultural and biological importance, and bushfire and flood risk. 

The developer quickly launched an appeal that commenced with LEC Registrar S Froh on 25 October 2022 with a Notice of Motion and Directions Hearing held in Court 1A in the LEC Court in Sydney (Case No. 2022/00279591). Mr Gadiel appeared for the developer Goldcoral Pty Lty and Ms Rose for Richmond Valley Council although Ms Rose made it clear that she took instruction from the NRPP. 

Simone Barker (nee Wilson), daughter of the late Lawrence Wilson who opposed the development back in the 1990s accompanied by supporter Jaydn.

$2m remediation still not done

Mr Al Oshlack was granted leave by the L&EC Registrar to join the case on behalf of Simone Barker (nee Wilson), daughter of the late Lawrence Wilson who opposed the development back in the 1990s, but was not granted permission to access Court documents pertinent to the case.

Uncle Laurie prepared many successful Native Title Claims for the Bundjalung Nation and the Bandjalang People.  Simone is regarded as a Traditional Knowledge Holder and has actively campaigned against the Iron Gates development.  She gave evidence at the NRPP hearing at Evans Head where the DA was refused.

Mr Oshlack fought successfully against the Iron Gates development in the 1990’s with the matter making its way to the High Court of Australia. It was that case that removed the existing DA and ordered over $2m of remediation works at the site which have never been done. 

Documents pertaining to the case which would tell the public what the grounds for Appeal are were NOT available to the public but it would appear that the case is a Class 1 Appeal under the LAND AND ENVIRONMENT COURT ACT 1979 – SECT 34 where the Court may impose a Conciliation process to try and bring resolution to the matter(s) in dispute. 

Flooding on the Iron Gates where building and infrastructure will be. And they say it doesn’t flood! Photo supplied

L&EC site inspection

A site inspection by the L&EC has now been set for 6 March, 2023 with further deliberations on the matter to be held at the Casino Council Chambers of Richmond Valley Council. Mr Gadiel on behalf of Goldcoral Pty Ltd sought an earlier date but no dates were available. 

The site is of high cultural significance to Bandjalang People of the Bundjalung Nation the development site was bounded to the north and east by Crown Land the subject of a successful Native Title Application in April 2021 (Bandjalang Claim #3). The cultural and ecological significance of the site has led the National Parks to seek the purchase and inclusion of the site in NP multiple times, but the state government has refused to look at that solution far. 

LEP wetlands riparian map of Iron Gates site and Evans Head. Image supplied

Flood Inquiry commitments

The fact that the land is low-lying and flood-prone also raises the question in relation to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s commitment to the recommendations of the NSW Flood Inquiry that included A commitment that development in future areas will not be subject to flooding.

This is an issue that affects the entire east coast of NSW with multiple communities calling on the state government to review existing zonings and DA approvals in flood-prone areas.

Blue Pool Road clearing, June 2014. Photo supplied

Land for sale

Subsequent to Tuesday’s L&EC deliberations Evans Head Residents for Sustainable Development Inc (EHRSDI) learned that the Iron Gates land, which is currently the subject of the DA Court appeal, is for sale along with a large tract of adjacent land controlled by Mr Ingles. The land area for the two blocks is 100.1ha.

Iron Gates Road in flood March 2022. Photo supplied

The advertisement for sale pitches the site as being ‘One of the last remaining large scale residential development sites in the Evans Head township and northern NSW coastal region… [with] Additional development options including eco-village etc on the balance 80Ha of the property… [and] Road access via Iron Gates Drive already constructed providing convenient access to the township and beaches of Evans Heads’.

Dr Gates spokesperson for EHRSDI said today that it was rather curious that the land subject to the DA L&EC Appeal plus the adjacent land should be for sale.  

‘No mention is made of the NRPP decision or the L&EC Appeal in the Land Sale Advertisement but we assume that any serious buyer would make necessary enquiries as part of due diligence that is a normal part of any land purchase,’ said Dr Gates. 

One of the Evans Head, Iron Gates drains needing to be filled on Court Orders from 1997. Photo supplied

‘The 80ha portion of the property was also the subject of some clearing eight years ago.’

Dr Gates said that while there is much speculation in the community about the Iron Gates land sale and unresolved issues about land clearing and remediation orders from the L&EC going back to 1997 for a portion of it, his committee was not prepared to comment at this stage about the sale, particularly with matters before the L&EC.   

Iron Gates property from the air showing Evans River in the background, and extensive wetlands, cleared land and regrowth of the Iron Gates. The bright green in the upper left with dug drain running along the left side is part of the original development of the 1990s which is under Court Orders for remediation. Foreground shows extensive wetland country. Photo supplied

However, he did note that requests for rezoning by the community to Richmond Valley Council to more appropriate ‘ecologically-sensitive’ zonings more than ten years ago might have prevented much of the cost to ratepayers and a better outcome for the community.  The Iron Gates remediation orders are now a quarter of a century old and attempts to develop the site much older than that.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Well I have to thank Ingels because I meet the mother of my children at a protest there 26. years ago. Amazing he is still trying to push this through.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

People becoming severely ill at home due to heat

People experiencing financial and social disadvantage are struggling to keep their homes cool in summer and becoming seriously unwell from the heat, new ACOSS research has found.

Firefighters called to Bruns Bakery yesterday

Fire and Rescue NSW say they attended commercial premises in Fingal Street in Brunswick Heads after reports of an electrical fire at 4pm yesterday afternoon.

Rifle Range Road upgrade about to start

It’s a project that has endured many delays, but Byron Shire Council says the upgrade of Rifle Range Road at Bangalow is finally due to start in early April.

Invasive Species Council gives evidence to federal fire ant inquiry

A Senate Committee inquiry will hear evidence today that changes are needed in Australia’s fire ant response – including the creation of an independent eradication authority.