Motion for public hearing goes down

By Rudi Maxwell

Despite Lismore City Council having received more than 300 submissions regarding the rezoning of McLeans Ridges Councillors voted on Tuesday night against initiating a public hearing.

Council is currently in receipt of two rezoning proposals for McLeans Ridges, one on Roseview Road and one on Camerons Road.

Councillor Ros Irwin said the issue was one of public significance.

This is one of the most controversial matters to come before Council in a long time, Cr Irwin said. The people of McLeans Ridges are not against development and accept that there will be development but its about the number of lots and its about the character of McLeans Ridges.

The blocks are very small and its inappropriate.

Unfortunately the residents of McLeans Ridges have absolutely no trust in Councils process.

It may cost a bit to have a hearing but if we dont it will cost a great deal more in the faith of the community and its an opportunity we cant afford to lose.

Addressing Council in public access time, John Mulholland of the McLeans Ridges Community Group said he felt residents concerns were being ignored.

Mr Mulholland said Council policies emphasised that development design should maintain and improve significant visual landscape elements, such as ridgelines.

McLeans Ridges is just that: ridges, Mr Mulholland said. These developments locate rows of houses on the ridges and, as such, have high impact.

In answer to a question, Cr Vanessa Ekins said she had been a member of the working party that came up with the Rural Housing Strategy and it had been the intention that the area retain its farmland character.

There was an attempt to write into the strategy enough controls so that ribbon-style developments wouldnt be considered and the rural nature of the area would be maintained, Cr Ekins said.

Cr Brian Henry said while there had been a lot of concerns from McLeans Ridges residents he didnt think a public hearing would make any difference.

Staff prepare a report showing what the concerns are and Council responds to the concerns, Cr Henry said.

Council voted 6/5 against holding a public hearing (Crs Irwin, Jenny Dowell, David Tomlinson, Vanessa Ekins and Frank Swientek for). Cr Graham Meineke declared a perceived conflict of interest and left the chamber for the debate.

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