Perradenya Estate at Caniaba was meant to be the environmental jewel of new housing in the region the model of sustainable development.
But last week, Lismore City Council was forced to abandon the development control plan (DCP) for the village, admitting that the plan was fatally flawed because it was prepared eight years ago in a hurry to accommodate the developer.
The move came two years after Cr Ros Irwin first queried whether the development was complying with the DCP. An investigation revealed Council staff had not bothered to monitor or enforce compliance laws on the development, which is owned by local water authority Rous Water.
Canvassing the problems with the DCP, Councils executive director of development and governance, Lindsay Walker, described it as completely impractical, full of motherhood statements and an embarrassment.
Its been an enormous headache to try and make them [the sustainable principles] work. It is physically impossible to carry out some of the things in the DCP, Mr Walker said.
Almost half the site 77 of 168 lots has been developed in the past five years. In 2002, Rous Water sought changes to the DCP, bypassing Council and seeking a decision from the NSW Minister for Planning, who approved some changes.
In his report to Council, planning services manager Chris Soulsby blamed a short time frame for preparing the DCP to accommodate the Perradenya developers time frame for the failings of the plan.
It was not possible to rigorously evaluate, he wrote.
The debate over the matter revealed that many councillors were unfamiliar with the workings of the DCP or its requirements.
At last Tuesdays meeting, Cr Jenny Dowell was concerned that Council was breaking a promise to Caniaba residents by abandoning the plan without consulting with them first.
Cr Frank Swientek described it as bad manners, inconsiderate and not the way to do business with your ratepayers.
We are saying to hell with all of you [Caniaba residents who originally opposed the development], we dont give a stuff about you, he said.
But Council approved repealing the DCP 7/3 (Crs Swientek, Dowell, Ekins against, Cr Irwin absent).
Council will now look at preparing a new DCP for Perradenya, concentrating on infrastructure and community facilities, vegetation corridors and the use of grey water.
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