Clarence Valley Council building in Grafton.
Clarence Valley Council building in Grafton. Caitlan Charles

Fill hill will go ahead

THE definition of fill was scrutinised at the Clarence Valley Council meeting this week as councillors debated if crushed concrete waste from the Pacific Highway upgrade could be used to create a mound on a rural property in Palmers Island.

The development application to create a stockpile of filling on the School Rd property was subject to 15 submissions against it, including legal advice sought by multiple community members.

This objection included a deputation at the council meeting where a neighbouring resident said rural land should not be a dumping ground for material from work sites.

But, it was the definition of what fill is that could have brought the project into jeopardy, with Cr Greg Clancy attempting to move a motion to block the DA which stated the stockpile fill was not consistent with the previsions in the Local Environment Plan or the definition of what the document considered fill.

However, director environment, planning and community Des Schroder disagreed and advised councillors that this was within the controls of the LEP.

Cr Andrew Baker said it was difficult to drive anywhere on a floodplain in the Clarence Valley without seeing a stockpile of some sort.

"Some people stockpile for the rare occasion we get a flood, they stand their cattle on it for the period of the flood,” he said.

"Others make a mound for future use.”

Cr Baker said the critical thing for council to decide on was whether the material was suitable.

"Whether it's contaminated or not contaminated, whether it's brought in in a suitable manner,” he said.

He added that he didn't believe this would interfere with a natural water course.

The stockpiling of fill was approved by council in a four to three vote with mayor Jim Simmons declaring an interest in the matter and leaving the council chambers. Crs Debrah Novak, Peter Ellem and Clancy voted against the motion.

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