Servo ticks all the boxes
TICKING planning boxes has trumped community feeling with a decision to approve a controversial service station at Yamba.
The proposed service station on the corner of Yamba Rd and Treelands Dr has been in the pipeline since 2015 when Clarence Valley Council approved a planning proposal to rezone two residential blocks to form the site.
Many in the community have opposed the location on a notoriously busy intersection and the proposal to install Yamba's first set of traffic lights to control the extra traffic the development would create.
There has also been debate in the community about the need for another service station.
Cr Andrew Baker began debate with an amendment to the committee recommendation which altered the hours of operation from 5am to 10.30pm seven days a week.
He then rounded on critics of the proposal who needed to be aware of a few "facts of life".
"One, if you live on a busy road you can expect traffic," Cr Baker said.
"Two, if you live near a busy intersection, you can expect traffic to be turning.
"If you live near a business zone, you can expect businesses to want to be open for business."
Cr Peter Ellem, who had previously opted out of debate because of a conflict of interest, said he had received advice that this was less serious than he first thought and would stay in the meeting.
He took a different attitude to Cr Baker on the previous council's decision to rezone, describing it as "enabling" this DA.
"This is despite significant community opposition to the proposal, equating to one-seventh of Yamba's total population of 7000 residents, many of them ratepayers," Cr Ellem said.
"I still question the wisdom of locating a high traffic flow service station slap bang on the busiest intersection in Yamba.
"We accept that the precinct is getting busier by the day, so within four years council will have to provide a treatment and this has always been framed as a roundabout."
Cr Ellem said the introduction of traffic lights to Yamba would be detrimental to the laidback vibe of the area and its point of difference with other tourist areas.
Cr Ellem also introduced Section 79C of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act to the debate, which another opponent of the DA, Cr Debrah Novak, said provided ammunition to the argument.
Cr Greg Clancy chimed in with Section 79C and said it provided a "public interest" rationale for considering competition issues the development raised.
Other councillors did not agree.
Cr Arthur Lysaught said objections had been raised and dealt with.
Cr Karen Toms said she was gobsmacked at the thought councillors would be prepared to tackle issues outside the constraints of the DA.
Cr Richie Williamson was also critical of councillors becoming "L-Plated planners" because of the legal issues that could arise.
The council voted 6-3 to approve the DA.