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Marine precinct proposal not sunk yet

The planning proposal, as it was before the government’s latest rejection: Stage 1 will incorporate Yamba Welding and Engineering, a light industrial / commercial precinct servicing the marine industry, paint and paint prep shed, and hardstand areas. Stage 2 is currently proposed as a TAFE for marine trade services.

Geoff Helisma

For the second time, the NSW Government has written to Clarence Valley Council (CVC) advising that it has rejected a planning proposal to rezone a 21.22 hectare block of land at School Road, Palmers Island, “to facilitate the development of a marine-based industry”.

Bill Collingburn, the proponent and proprietor of Yamba Welding & Engineering, however, told the Independent that he is “going again”.

He challenged the NSW Government’s politicians to “stop paying lip service to creating jobs in the bush and actually do something about it”.

“They have to realise that NSW is not Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong,” he said.

“They’ve got to decide whether they want my company to employ people.

“I’m doing my best – I have 10 young people employed here.

“I want the government to tell me if they want me here or want me to go interstate … the Queensland Government love me; why am I wasting my time here?”

However, Mr Collingburn was not overly perturbed, despite his strident comments.

“The government has left a door open for me, so I’ll be using it,” he said, without revealing what he specifically meant.

“It’s a lifeline, it’s appreciated and we will be going down that track.”

Mr Collingburn’s proposal was first rejected in November 2014.

At the July 2017 council meeting, councillors considered a revised version of Mr Collingburn’s second application to the planning Gateway (lodged in November 2016), which included the addition of “acoustic barrier walls of a minimum height of 8 metres in order to meet the noise attenuation requirements”.

Councillors were split on whether or not to send the proposal back to the Gateway: councillors Lysaught, Toms, Kingsley and Baker were in support; councillors Novak, Ellem, Clancy and Williamson were opposed.

Debate was mostly about whether or not the revision should be publically exhibited before going back to the Gateway.

Acting chair Cr Jason Kingsley used his casting vote to decide the matter; the mayor, Jim Simmons, declared a non-significant, non-pecuniary interest and left the chamber.

While acknowledging that the wall would have “sufficiently attenuated” noise generated at the site, the Gateway ruled it would “produce a significant visual impact on the area and is unlikely to be practical for the design life of the development”.

The letter cited several other reasons, including not being consistent with: the North Coast Regional Plan 2036, the Clarence Valley Industrial Lands Strategy 2007, the state’s Marine Based Industry Policy and SEPP 71 – Coastal Protection.

The determination also states “there is no demonstrated need for additional IN4 Working Waterfront or W3 Working Waterways zoned land at this location, as there is
suitably zoned land available for development adjacent to the existing marine-based industry at Harwood”.