By TOBY WALKER
FIVE thousand new residents are expected to call the Clarence Valley home within 10 years as the Clarence Valley Council prepares for a population boom.
Expansive housing developments at Clarenza and West Yamba look set to absorb the bulk of the predicted growth but projects in Townsend and South Grafton would also boost the populations in their respective communities.
Just over 2100 new homes spread out over four major sites would house the mainly young families expected to settle in the Valley providing the development's gained council's final approval.
Consultation for the largest of the developments, a proposed 1100-lot site designed to house around 2500 people north of Sullivan's Lane in West Yamba, has been underway since 2000.
A draft of the West Yamba local environment plan should be ready for public exhibition by the end of next month.
But next week council is expected to back its belief that population growth will lead to greater prosperity for the Valley when it approves an application to rezone a greenfields site at Clarenza.
Council planners received a joint-submission to develop the 277-hectare tract of land from landowners Austmark Properties and Dougherty Brothers Pty Ltd in May this year.
Bounded by the Pacific Highway, Alipou Creek, Centenary Drive and Duncan's Lane, the proposed 750-lot development could potentially house up to 1800 people.
This week council's environment and planning committee also backed rezoning applications for two separate developments on Bent Street in South Grafton that contain a further 120 urban-residential lots between them.
An application to allow a 153-lot expansion of the Skullen Street subdivision in Townsend is now before council for approval.
Plans for the massive West Yamba and Clarenza development had been delayed for years until the Clarence Valley's sewer network could be improved to meet the expected increase in demand.
But with augmentation of the Yamba and Grafton sewerage systems now at advanced stages, council is ready to open up the land for more residents.
Mayor Ian Tiley said the early stages of proposed development represented a very exciting phase in the life of the council.
"What we're seeing is the council commencing a process which will ultimately enable subdivision of around 2000 blocks of land which will have a capacity to house an additional 5000 people in the Valley," he said.
"What the Clarenza development is about is locating people much closer to the centre of Grafton than you presently find in the northern and southern extremities of the city. So it's about better utilisation of existing infrastructure, it's about creating a whole new lifestyle on what is essentially a greenfields site."