From the Newsroom

Building boom set to continue

Geoff Helisma

Last week, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) issued a media release stating that the Clarence Valley is amidst a building boom, based on development applications (DA) approved in the 2020/21 financial year.

Clarence Valley Council’s director of environment and planning Adam Cameron said the upward trend had continued into the current financial year, with benefits being seen beyond the building industry.

“We have never been so busy, and as a result, we have employed more staff in an attempt to ensure the time it takes for a DA to be processed does not blow out,” Mr Cameron said in the media release.

“Last financial year, [CVC] participated in the Public Spaces Legacy Program (PSLP) where we committed to determining applications within a median timeframe of 43 days [the average DA-processing time is 63 days].

“I am proud to say that not only did we meet this target, but we exceeded it for the period ending June 2021, with our median DA processing time averaging 41 days.”

As a result of meeting the PSLP criterion, CVC was awarded $3 million in the “Regional City Council” category, along with 17 other NSW local governments, including Coffs Harbour City, Byron Shire and Armidale Regional councils.

Clarence Valley Council allocated the grant towards the Ulmarra Riverbank Precinct project.

“It is a great achievement for the planning department to be involved in realising positive outcomes for people, not only by reaching our DA targets but, also, by securing this funding that more broadly benefits local communities,” Mr Cameron said.

According to the July 2020 report to council:

Seven hundred and twenty-two (722) DAs were approved in 2019/20, with a value of $163,329,389.20.

The average processing time was 76 days, the median was 53 days.

According to the July 2021 report to council:

Nine hundred and sixteen (916) DAs were approved in 2020/21, with a value of $161,309,422.30, which is a 27 per cent increase of approved DAs, compared to the previous year).

The average processing time was 63 days, the median was 41 days.

According to the November 2021 report to council:

Four hundred and eight (408) DAs were approved from July 1 to October 31, with a value of $88,567,710.02.

The average processing time was 62 days, the median was 46 days.

Mr Cameron said the figures at the end of November had continued the trend, with the value of DAs rising to about $116million.

While Clarence Valley is not the only regional area experiencing a significant rise in the number of DAs being submitted via the NSW Planning Portal, Mr Cameron said it was uniquely positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities.

He said the building activity has “really stimulated the local economy with other benefits as well, they buy goods and services”.

“The Clarence Valley is well situated to take advantage of a growth in population, with large areas of land yet to be subdivided for residential purposes in Junction Hill, Clarenza, West Yamba, James Creek and continued development in Gulmarrad,” he said.

Mr Cameron said the highway upgrade, the NBN and changes to work practices had put “us in good position to take advantage of the growth opportunities”.

“Anecdotally, we have a lot of things that people need, who are moving here from cities – schools, hospitals, and people working in a modern workforce [from home]; all of those things put us in a great position,” he said.