From the Newsroom

Park Ave DA deferred ‘for one reason’

Geoff Helisma

The Northern Region Planning Panel (NRPP) has deferred its decision to approve (or not) a 136 multi-dwelling proposal in Yamba, pending the development of a draft flood evacuation plan.

On Thursday March 10, the five-person panel – Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) representatives, mayor Ian Tiley and deputy mayor Greg Clancy; and state panel members Paul Mitchell (chair), Stephen Gow and Penny Holloway – was split after considering submissions, presentations from objectors and developers, and the panel questioning the developer’s technical representatives.

After an hour of consideration, chair Paul Mitchell said he and Ms Holloway backed CVC staff’s appraisal of the development application (DA).

However, councillors Tiley and Clancy were opposed.

Mr Gow voted with the councillors, however, his support for deferring a decision was based on the developer submitting a flood evacuation plan before approving the DA; rather than before a construction certificate is issued, which was the case with a similar development at Carrs Drive, West Yamba.

Chair Paul Mitchell emphasised in his summation of the DA that it was due to only “one reason”: a majority of panel members wanted an evacuation plan prepared before the development is approved.

As well as calling for an evacuation plan, councillors Tiley and Clancy were concerned that managing stormwater during an extreme weather event, such as the recent Yamba flooding, would be more than the design could handle.

Cr Tiley said he was “very concerned” about stormwater management and did not believe “discharging it to the [existing Shores Drive] swale is adequate”.

“Ultimately,” he said, “the region [has] got to face reality that natural disasters will only get worse over time; we need to ensure developments survive and thrive [those disasters].”

Cr Clancy said he “echoed” the mayor’s concerns.

“I don’t think the site is suitable,” he said, “it’s actually a very nice design, but not for a site on a flood plain that is going to be subjected to [regular] flooding.”

He said he had a “number of other things to pass on to the chair” and that the recent flooding was “so close and so raw, and a lesson we need to learn”.

Chair Paul Mitchell said he had “questioned [CVC] staff extensively” and could “see no sound reason why the development shouldn’t go ahead”.

Mr Mitchell said he and Ms Holloway had “agreed with the deferral to see conditions met and satisfied within three months, unless the [developer] thinks a shorter time is appropriate”.

“It is the decision of the panel by three to two, to defer [and] to allow preparation of a draft evacuation plan that meets the [requirements of] the development control plan,” he said

The developer said he was concerned that “we’ll be back here talking about” other issues raised by objectors and councillors Tiley and Clancy “once we go through the process” of developing a draft evacuation plan.

Mr Mitchell said the panel would “address a single issue”, however, the panel would probably “discuss other factors again”.

“But unless new information comes forward,” he said, he expected the DA to be approved.

He said the mayor and deputy mayor have broader concerns and reemphasised that there was only “one reason for deferral; but I cannot say [the issues] won’t be discussed again”.

The developer asked, “Can we talk to the mayor and deputy mayor?”

Mr Mitchell advised that he should “not go to them directly” and that he should put any enquiries to council officers.

“Go through [CVC’s] planning staff,” he said.