Refusal puts paid to $2.9million upgrade


A PROPOSED $2.9million extension to Clarence Coast Resort at Palmers Island, which would have created over 40 new jobs, has been refused by the NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor.

Mr Sartor said the proposal was rejected because of its scale and the fact it was considered a tourist development rather than an upgrade to an existing park.

"This is inconsistent with the relevant planning controls and it is therefore considered to be a prohibited development," he said.

But resort manager Nicki Levi said the decision was based on flawed information which the minister's staff failed to check on.

"This property was a tourist facility in 2001 when the LEP changed," she said.

"Therefore, it would be prohibited if it were a new caravan park, but as it was existing at the time, it has existing use rights."

The proposal contained an upgrade of a swimming pool, plus the relocation of community amenities, a manager's residence and a sewer- age treatment system.

Under State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 71 the plan needed approval from the minister, even though it was approved by the former Maclean Shire Council in 2003.

Mrs Levi said the minister's concerns about issues such as use rights, potential contamination on the Clarence River and potential destruction of aquatic habitat were unfounded.

"The minister has signed a refusal of an application which the council, Fisheries, Northern Rivers DIPNR, National Parks & RFS have provided documentation to confirm they have have no problem with," she said.

Mrs Levi said it was a disappointing result, considering the employment it would have brought to the area.

"We currently employ eight people. This development, if approved, would employ 50 people," she said.

"We think it's pretty sad that the minister thinks his staff who sit behind desks in Sydney know more about the Clarence Valley and what is good for us than our council."

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