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An artist’s impression of the resort proposed for Iluka; the target date for its completion is December 2020. Image: CVC July council meeting business paper

‘New era of prosperity’ for Iluka tourism

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has approved a surf and yoga resort for construction on the site of the derelict service station at the corner of Spenser and Owen streets, Iluka.

Only Cr Greg Clancy was opposed when the decision was taken at the July 17 council meeting.

He argued that the proposal did not “meet the legislative requirements and is an overdevelopment of the site” – this part of his argument was disputed, without resolution – and that it did not comply with the DCP (development control plan), “with respect to the height of the buildings”.

However, Cr Clancy was friendless on the height exceeding the DCP’s or local environment plan’s (LEP) height restrictions.

General manager Ashley Lindsay confirmed that the DCP was a “guiding document” when answering a question from Cr Andrew Baker.

Cr Jason Kingsley warned that if councillors rejected the development application (DA), based upon an inflexible stance on the local DCP, it could “be dangerous” if CVC was challenged in the land and environment court.

Councillors approved the officer’s recommendation to vary: the “LEP’s Height of Building Map to allow a maximum building height of 10.9 metres; [and], the DCP car parking requirements to allow a two car parking space deficit”, along with a raft of other conditions.

The LEP sets a height restriction of 9 metres.

Staff supported the applicant’s contention that “flexibility to the height standard will allow for common floor levels to be adopted, resulting in a better design outcome”.
“The variations do not significantly increase the bulk and scale of the development and it is recommended that the variations be supported,” staff wrote.

The resort will consist of 40 rooms, a 197m2 restaurant, 43 basement parking spaces and four on-street spaces.

The report to council states that “the applicant has submitted that there is sufficient formal and informal parking available in both Owen and Spenser Streets, which are largely unused at most times”, as a reason to vary the DCP’s parking requirements.

“The restaurant peak period will be outside of normal working hours and the main users will be resort guests and a full complement of spaces is provided for them.”

Staff advised that “the reduction in parking spaces is considered acceptable in the circumstances”.
On the question of variations to DCPs, Cr Baker said: “In my view, it would be very dangerous to support something that says we can’t vary the DCP; when in fact we can.”

During debate, Cr Peter Ellem said: “I think the development will bring Iluka into a new era of prosperity on the tourism side of things.”

He said the height variation was justified because “a major depression onsite needed an architectural fix”.
“In this case I will support the development and it won’t be the last we see at Iluka, I’m sure,” he said.
Councillor Clancy said the proposal was an over development of the site and that he believed there was “a need for some development, but in line with the character of Iluka”.

There were four submissions made during the DA’s public exhibition: two objections, one in support of the proposal and one expressing concern regarding the height of the building.

The project’s director, Derk Vanderbent, wrote, in part, on the Iluka Beach Surf & Yoga Facebook page that he “expects that when operational the resort could add up to three million dollars per annum to the community’s economy”.

“Local residents are keen for new employment opportunities in the area, and business is keen to embrace a new holiday destination with a modern accommodation approach.”

There is a video presentation of what to expect on the Facebook page, too.