80 conditions for subdivision plan

A DECISION for the controversial Gulmarrad subdivision has finally been reached but neither the developer nor the opposers of the application are happy with the outcome.

The 60-lot subdivision was approved by Clarence Valley councillors at this week’s full ordinary meeting, providing the applicant complies with the 80 conditions as set by council.

Maclean property developer Andrew Baker lodged the original development application for a 62-lot subdivision with council in April 2009 and after no decision was reached within the Department of Planning’s 40-day timeframe he lodged a deemed refusal appeal to the Land and Environment Court to seek a decision.

At an informal meeting council staff requested that Mr Baker submit a revised layout that would be more viable, which resulted in the final 60-lot application.

Although Tuesday night’s decision swayed Mr Baker’s way he said it was hard to be happy with the final outcome as he was disappointed in some councillors throughout the application process.

“Last night and the last 300 days has really highlighted deficiencies in a couple of our councillors who insist on grandstanding and show lack of integrity,” he said.

Mr Baker said he had spent in excess of $80,000 including court costs in attempts to prove that his development application complied with council’s guidelines and requirements. He was disappointed that some councillors had voted a particular way in an attempt to cater to minority groups.

Environment educator Helen Tyas Tunggal said important issues in the reports formed by council regarding the development had been both ignored and contradicted.

“According to the Clarence Valley Council report summary statement the application impacts on every sustainability element within the adopted framework, yet council staff have recommended that it be approved,” she said.

“They make the grand statement that they consider the proposal will adequately protect any areas or sites of conservation value yet it contradicts what is contained in their report.

“I am very concerned that the elected councillors are not getting the best information that they need to make informed decisions,” Ms Tyas Tunggal said.

A late letter of concern from the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council was tabled at the last meeting, displaying concerns for the protection of the sacred scar trees and the lack of consultation during the application process. Mayor Richie Williamson included an additional condition before the application was approved to ensure that further consultation be undertaken with the Yaegl Local Aboriginal Land Council with regard to better protection of the scar trees before a construction certificate is issued.

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