Rezoning on display despite flaws

Although a majority of councillors and staff admitted that the Social Impact Statement (SIA) for the Cameron Road rural residential development in McLeans Ridges was seriously flawed, Lismore City Council still voted to put the rezoning proposal on exhibition.

Speaking in front of a full gallery on Tuesday night, Cr Jenny Dowell described the process used to draw up the SIA as akin to going to a tailor, ordering a suit and the tailor using your next door neighbours measurements to make the suit. Cr Dowells analogy referred to the fact that the assessment was created using the Richmond Hill Census district, which is four times larger than the McLeans Ridges community, and excludes the vast majority of land where the development is proposed.

I would be very embarrassed to put this out, Cr Dowell said. This is based on a huge Census collection area of over a thousand houses, yet it only covers a quarter of the houses in McLeans Ridges.

Although Cr John Hampton accepted that the SIA was flawed he said, Were only putting it on exhibition. If we put it out there people can criticise it. Why hold it up any further?

Cr Ros Irwin made it clear that she was opposed to the Cameron Road development on three other counts; the number of driveways opening onto Cameron Road, the fact the lot sizes were too small and the removal of trees necessary to upgrade Cameron Road.

Councils own guidelines for the area state that direct vehicular access to Camerons Road should be precluded.

It (the development) does not comply with the Rural Housing Strategy or the DCP (Development Control Plan), Cr Irwin said. It seems to me that Council staff have actually worked with developers to find a way around Council policies.

However, Councils director of development and governance, Lindsay Walker, was quick to defend his staff.

Its grossly unfair to say we have been trying to work around policy, Mr Walker said.

He said that if Council completely realigned Cameron Road it would do away with many of the difficulties the site presents.

Council identified this area for development and we have been working to implement that strategy, he said.

Council voted 6/5 (Crs Ekins, Irwin, Swientek, Dowell and Tomlinson against) to put the rezoning documents on exhibition. Cr Graham Meineke was absent from the debate and vote due to a perceived conflict of interest.

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