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Stockpile approved; marine precinct proposal continues

Geoff Helisma |

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) has approved a development application (DA) to stockpile fill on a 20 hectare parcel of land at School Road on Palmers Island, which is the subject of a separate planning proposal to rezone approximately 10ha of its 20ha area from RU1 Primary Production to IN4 Working Waterfront/W3 Working Waterway.

The ultimate goal for Yamba Welding & Engineering’s proprietor Bill Collingburn: the development of a marine industrial park.

The twice-rejected planning proposal was revived on August 14, 2018, when the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel’s acting secretary signed an amendment to permit it to proceed.

At the December 11 council meeting, Environment, Planning & Community director Des Schroder told councillors that approving a 3,000 cubic metre stockpile has “nothing to do with … what comes afterwards”.

“It can go through and not have to be related to anything,” he said.
Cr Debrah Novak asked, “So anyone can stockpile out there?”

Mr Schroder: “[It’s done] all the time for sheds, etcetera, that’s why this type of allowance is made in the local environment plan [LEP].”

Speaking in support of his motion, Cr Andrew Baker said stockpiles were common on the flood plain and could be used for “standing their cattle on it [in] a … flood” or to “make a mound for a future use”.

“It is permissible and, as hard as we try to pretend a section of the LEP doesn’t exist, we have to accept that it does exist,” Cr Baker said.

“…There’s nothing wrong with this DA and it should be approved.”

Cr Greg Clancy argued that the proposal was not for “earthworks”, which is defined as “excavation or filling” in the LEP – he said that “waste material would be dumped in an agricultural area”.

“This DA does not meet the requirements of the LEP,” he said.

Cr Ritchie Williamson, who said he was on the public record for “not being terribly supportive” of rezoning the planning proposal, pointed out that condition five of the DA “makes it unlawful to bring contaminated fill onto the site”.

The report to council advised that each of the “15 objections, including legal advice” did not contain sufficient reasons to refuse the DA.

“It is considered that the amenity impacts and environmental impacts can be suitably managed through the imposition of conditions of consent,” the report stated.

The Independent asked Mr Collingburn: What is the stockpile to be used for?
He said it could be used for things like “shed bases … or to build up above a flood for anything I put on the land”.
He said that the stockpile will consist of “clean certified fill, it could be from the highway works, but it will be certified”.
He said he would use it for his proposed boat building facility if he is “lucky enough to get the DA approved”, however, if not, he might build “a big farm shed, or something like that, and work out the best use for the land”.
Mr Collingburn said he was “committed to employing more people” but said the limited size of his factory in Yamba made that difficult.
“I have 10 apprentices here and I want to train more young people so they don’t have to leave the area,” he said.
“I’ve been 45 years in business at Yamba; but I can’t survive given the workload in the premises I have now.
“We have a 22-metre fishery vessel underway and two vessels for the navy, and we are starting seven vessels for NSW police.”

Voting was as follows: For: Baker, Kingsley, Williamson, Toms; Against: Novak, Ellem, Clancy; the mayor, Jim Simmons, declared a non-significant, non-pecuniary interest; Cr Lysaught was absent.