Skirmish over illegal facility

The owner of a Ballina tourist attraction featuring the popular paintball skirmish game has been put on notice to comply with its original court approval, for an amenities building and car park, as well as council rules over an illegal dwelling.

Ballina Shire Council last week gave conditional approval for Ballina Adventure Park, on a 10-hectare block in Pimlico Road, Pimlico, to convert an existing unauthorised building into an amenities block with an on-site sewage treatment system and to build a 22-space car park.

The approval was given despite one councillor complaining it was rewarding a history of non-compliance.

In their report, staff said a recent site inspection by Council officers while assessing the application found that the building for the proposed amenities had already been built without Council approval and was being used as a home by the operator of the park.

They also noted that a current on-site sewage treatment method for the recreation facility did not comply with Council requirements.

The owner was told he could not live on the land without Council approval and that the skirmish activities could not continue without complying with the sewage treatment requirements.

Staff said the owner was currently negotiating with an adjoining landowner to obtain temporary use of an existing amenities building which, with a built car park, was previously part of the land including the skirmish facility before the block was subdivided a few years ago.

As a result, the skirmish facility was operating without an approved on-site wastewater management system or built car park area, contravening the original Land and Environment Court approval for the skirmish facility given in 1993.

Last weeks approval by Council paves the way for the popular tourist draw card to continue operating but the owner has to stop living there and obtain approval for a dwelling or a temporary occupation permit, build the car park and establish the amenities block with associated waste-disposal.

Cr Alan Rich said he could not see why non-compliance should be rewarded while Cr Margaret Howes said lets keep him in business as the park was one of the shires better tourist attractions, which had been operating for 20 years.

The owner of the park late last year also sought approval for a conference centre, tourist accommodation and a managers residence but withdrew it on learning the state government and not Council was the consent authority and is instead applying to the Department of Planning.

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