8 most controversial developments in the Clarence Valley
The Clarence Valley has been home to several major developments this year, with some given the green light, while others fiercely opposed by community members.
In no particular order, here are eight contentious developments that have shaped the Clarence Valley in 2020:
Round and round Yamba goes...
Yamba's intersection woes have been a long, contentious issue for residents. After much back and forth on the method of traffic management and fierce opposition from locals regarding the proposed installation of traffic lights, Clarence Valley Council finally settled on mini roundabouts at the Treelands Drive and Carrs Drive intersections.
Pacific Hotel leaves councillors on the edge
Has the Pacific Hotel redevelopment set a precedent for Yamba? That was one of the many issues raised when Clarence Valley Council was tasked to either approve or oppose the development.
In early February, the development proposal, which included a function area on the lower level of the current hotel as well as a deck extending over the function area, was brought to the attention of council.
A month later, and numerous debates over height limits, building safety, parking and damage to neighbouring properties, the motion was passed.
Where's the funding?
In July this year a large banner was unveiled in Prince Street demanding action on the $263 million Grafton Base Hospital upgrade.
It served as a reminder to residents and visitors of the promises made by politicians in office at the last NSW election.
A week later, the Grafton Chamber of Commerce received letters from NSW Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, and the NSW Premier herself, Gladys Berejiklian, advising of a commitment to keep this election promise.
Gulmarrad's bold new precinct
Despite being identified as an urban growth area for more than a decade according to several government future planning documents, for some residents, a planning proposal for a shopping precinct in Gulmarrard came as a nasty surprise.
While some residents were excited to see the development, others were not keen to see their semirural suburb ruined by urban growth.
James Creek earmarked for urban development
Earlier this year, the development application SUB2020/0038 proposed 336 residential lots, four drainage reserves, one commercial lot and one public reserve along James Creek Rd, much to the ire of residents.
The proposal received multiple letters opposing the development and, in December 2020, the DA was withdrawn from Clarence Valley Council.
Maclean's bustling funeral industry DOA
Tensions rose in late June when the Bennett family offered to purchase the Maclean Services Club site pending development application approval to convert the premises into a funeral home.
Residents used social media to encourage others to oppose the DA to Clarence Valley Council. However, the Bennett family beat them to it and elected to withdraw the application a short time later.
Meanwhile, at the same time, a second development application for a funeral home a few doors up from the controversial Maclean RSL Services Club site was approved by Clarence Valley Council.
Water for sale?
Can a landowner really divide and sell a waterway in Yamba?
In September 2020, DA 2020/0543 was submitted to council with plans for two dwellings and a 37-lot subdivision.
However, the subdivisions have been the most concerning for residents.
The application diagram shows over 30 small parcels of land sectioned off between the waterfront and adjoining properties around Newport Island Circuit down to Arakoon Court with plans to sell them exclusively to landowners backing on to these sections.
Council building blowout
A concept plan for the newly renovated Clarence Valley Council Grafton chamber reignited arguments about how the region's money should be spent. It was discovered that the total cost of redeveloping the council building in Prince Street would blow out to over $7 million.
Construction is expected to begin immediately afterwards, with the building's completion date set for September 2021.