Public hearing called for over McLeans rezoning

Lismore City councillor Ros Irwin will move a motion at next Tuesdays meeting that Council hold a public hearing into the proposed rezoning of McLeans Ridges.

The process of conducting such a hearing is set out in the Environmental Assessment Act... in the interests of accountability and transparency I believe such a hearing is warranted, Cr Irwin wrote in her notice of motion.

Council organised an information session last Thursday with development consultant Landpartners, the applicant for the proposed Roseview Road subdivision.

More than 60 people attended the session, including Crs Irwin, Jenny Dowell, David Tomlinson and Frank Swientek.

McLeans Ridges Community Group spokesperson Janet Allen said there had been a mixed response to the session.

A lot of people again highlighted issues about the development being totally out of character to what already exists, amenity and the blocks being too small and too many of them, Ms Allen said. We also dont understand how some councillors are going to make a decision on something thats really important to a lot of people without attending workshops or talking to the community. Some councillors have been really actively seeking consultation but we feel some dont have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Acting Council general manager Lindsay Walker said he felt the session went reasonably well.

We were able to answer questions about process. Council is not engaging in discussion on the merits of the proposal, neither supporting it nor detracting from it, Mr Walker said. It gave the public the opportunity to hear from the proponent and ask questions.

Obviously there are members of the public who are very interested, and I think they still have reservations about the impact of the rezoning on their community and amenity.

Mr Walker said once Landpartners had submitted all the necessary documentation the rezoning application would be put on public exhibition for 28 days.

Then there will be an independent assessment of submissions, which should give the community comfort that someone totally independent is reviewing it before it goes back to Council, he said. This is not going to be rushed through in a couple of weeks.

Landpartners project manager Melissa Van Zwieten disagreed with residents claims that the development was not in keeping with the existing community.

The proposal has been designed with a rural feel in mind, Ms Van Zwieten said. Its an opportunity for Council to obtain funds to help provide infrastructure for the community, like road improvements, communal parkland, bus stops, footpaths, improvements to the hall, and its also securing environment areas for perpetuity. Its not just that local community that actually benefits, its the entire Lismore community.

Ms Van Zwieten said the developer would not make a large profit and that allowing development would bring in jobs for the Lismore community.

The developer is still really happy to continue with the process and willing to take on all the risks and just get the money hes spent to date back, she said. Because the process has taken longer than expected much of the potential profit has been eroded.

Ms Allen said if the developer didnt stand to make a profit and the community felt it would have negative effects, she didnt understand why they were going ahead.

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