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CVC to assist boat builder find an appropriate site

Clarence Valley Council will “do all things possible” to assist Yamba Welding and Engineering (YWE) find a suitable site for its boat building business.

This decision, taken at last week’s May 26 CVC meeting, is a result of the Planning Industry & Environment department rejecting YWE’s proposal to rezone agricultural land at Palmers Island to accommodate Bill Collingburn’s growing business.

Councillor Richie Williamson added to the council officer’s recommendation, to receive the report on the matter.

Six councillors supported his motion, to “do all things possible to work with the proponent to keep up to 100 local marine-based jobs in the Clarence Valley, this includes taking up the invitation from the Department of Planning to work with the proponent to identify all possible land available to support the growth of the business in the Clarence Valley.

Councillors Novak and Clancy voted against the motion, Cr Simmons declared an interest and left the meeting.

In a letter to CVC’s general manager, advising of his reasons for rejecting the proposal, Time Hurst (deputy secretary, Local Government Planning and Policy and delegate to the minister) wrote: “The Department recognises the importance of marine-based industries to Clarence Valley’s local economy and notes that Council’s draft Local Strategic Planning Statement identifies the opportunity to grow and support this sector.

“Council is encouraged to work with this proponent to identify an appropriate location that has suitable strategic and site merit to support the growth of this sector in the Clarence Valley.”

Mr Collingburn said he was “appreciative” that CVC would assist him “to look for alternative sites”.

However, Mr Collingburn has not yet ruled out the Palmers Island site.

He said he was considering “modifying the proposal slightly or appealing” the decision.

On the contention that he should relocate his business to Harwood, where there is privately owned working waterfront land, he said the “commercial reality is my business is going to grow a lot”.

“There is no available land at Harwood as of yet and I don’t know when there might be; it’s not commercially suited for us, as the Joint Regional Planning Panel pointed out to the Minister,” he said.

In a planning panel ‘Gateway Review Advice Report’ (April 3, 2018), the panel wrote: “The panel is satisfied that the applicant has demonstrated the need for additional zoned land in this location for the purpose proposed because; the zoned land at Harwood is not practically available for the proposed use due to land ownership, access limitations and operational requirements of the planning proposal.”

Speaking against the motion, Cr Greg Clancy said: “The river is extremely important to the valley … any damage or pollution of the river can have long standing effects.

“If we start industrialising the Clarence you can kiss goodbye to fishing, tourism, [etcetera].”

Cr Deborah Novak said: “For me, it’s not jobs at any cost.”