The Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRRP) will meet to consider Clarence Valley Council’s development application (DA) for its proposed depot and administration building at Rushforth Road, south Grafton, on Thursday March 17. The panel will meet at the Prince Street council chambers at 12.30pm; people who wish to speak at the meeting must register before 4pm on Tuesday March 15: call 9338 2060 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. At last month’s council meeting, the general manager tabled an AECGroup report, Depot Options Review, which “undertakes an assessment of the establishment costs of the new depot relative to the costs of renewing the existing depots, in addition to the cost savings and efficiency dividends expected from the new depot”. The report states that a capital investment of $8.779million would be required to upgrade the “Grafton, South Grafton, Weeds, Koolkhan and Floodplain depots” that it will replace. “The establishment cost of the new depot is estimated at $13.385 million,” the report states. “Funds already expended/committed from the Strategic Building Reserve for planning and design processes associated with the new depot total $0.685 million, leaving $12.700 million to be funded.” It is proposed to retain the Koolkhan depot as a ‘park and ride’ facility. Sales of the “surplus depot sites … should yield no less than $1.327million in net terms”. “Once the new depot is operational, a range of cost savings and efficiency dividends will be achieved, including reductions in staffing costs, inventories, major plant, small plant, rates and charges, electricity, insurance, cleaning and security,” the report states. “Overall, the cost savings and efficiency dividends are expected to produce $480,000 in one-off benefits and $1.089 million in ongoing annual savings.” The general manager, Scott Greensill told councillors at the meeting that the estimate in the report regarding the auction of the surplus sites is “indicative”. “The market is the market”, he said, “how it turns out, we don’t know; when we sell the properties we could end up with more or we could end up with less.” At the JRRP meeting, people who speak will be given three minutes to state their case. The panel advises: “As the regional panel will have read all the submissions and documentation before the panel meeting, [speakers] should focus [their] oral submission on the assessment report and its recommendation, rather than re-stating the information in [their] written submission.” Community group representatives will be given 10 minutes to speak, and the applicant and their consultants will have a total of 15 minutes allocated.