Held Tuesday 23 October 2007, at 7pm at the Suffolk Park Community Hall.

Meeting commenced at 7pm.

Vacant Land north of BP Service Station on Broken Head Road.

A presentation was given by Bernie Petry , identifying the latest developments re. the proposed rezoning to commercial. Ray Darney gave an update: currently, the Byron Council has hired consultants to look at a number of  areas for rezoning in the Shire, including the BP land, which will be included in the upcoming LEP. In late 2007, the consultants will advise their findings. With zoning reclassification, there is no right to appeal so the council decision (approved by Minister) would be final.  For a DA, council would be the only recourse as the scale of the development is smaller than size involving State govt intervention.

It is therefore important that any objections are lodged within the framework of the LEP exibition planned for early 2008.

2/3 of the site has been identified as 1/100 flooding, ie. once in 100 years. Although commercial development could be argued to be less problematic by the consultants, his personal opinion is that with the lack of affordable housing in the shire, residential would be a better option.
Peter Stolz queried if studies of the creek and future of the water way in that area had been done; to this point the consultants are only looking into flooding. Under the new LEP, Tallow Creek would become part of the Marine park area.
Helen Brown, formerly on Floodplain Sub-Committee, suggested the development would impact greatly and have serious implications for flooding in the area.
Ray Darney responded that council would “not want to repeat mistakes from the past” in respect to drainage. He suggested that the part outlined for “private recreational use” would be more likely used for  flood management/ habitat preservation, however did not rule out the possibility of skate park/ tennis courts.
He went on to say that though 1/100 is more likely to be the guideline for residential development, 1/50 could be used for commercial. Normally 1/100 is not used as residential development, but as this land was already zoned for this, it would stay in place.

  • Issues raised by attendees:

The need for the preservation of the “essence” and look/feel of Suffolk park.  What if the land were created in part as “Tallow Park”, to beautify a residential development?

What about an “eco-village” as residential?
Ray Darney responded that possible idea for residential is as a retirement village.

A hands-up vote showed that approx. 0% attendees were in favour of large scale commercial (eg. Coles); 8-10% were in favour of mixed residential/light commercial; The majority favoured Residential only. Estimated that only 4-5 attendees were from ByronHills/Baywood Chase.

Current co-owner of Spar supermarket, Tony Pangallo, thanked the community of Suffolk Park for their support; said that owners of the land had approached other stores in the current shopping centre, but not the Spar, suggesting possibly that they would want to go with a larger chain.
Question raised of possibility of expanding the current shopping centre if more commercial space is needed for Suffolk park.
If owners were to go to State level, Minister has power to overrule on zoning but it is difficult if council not in favour; unlikely that it would be of size / style to attract state interest; Rezoning is generally done with reluctance by Council.

What about a community garden on spare land for community and to mitigate flood concerns?
Views expressed that Tallow Creek be left a natural creek and not concreted.

What about noise levels from a supermarket, eg refrigeration units? Ray Darney responded that with new equipment, wasn’t usually an issue; more likely problem with trucks and delivery noise.
Residential development would also help with flooding, eg. Gardens, trees, rainwater tanks. Ray Darney responded that new “hydraulic designs” for drainage would be used for commercial.
He says that commercial would be only TWO storeys high.
What about the Dip site over the road? Has there been contamination of the BP land?  Council is to test soils by current consultants.

Peter Wegner pointed out that the current BP site is “illegal”, being zoned residential.  Ray Darney explained that it operates under “existing use rights”, ie. 30 plus years ago when classified a “village”, side by side operations were allowable.

Current provisions allow for shop-top housing.    .
Is there a better return for council with commercial vs residential? Ray Darney replied that the rates would be higher but not affecting their decision re. zoning.

Traffic issues: the current “disaster” of the Clifford /B.H Rd intersection would be exacerbated, encouraging residents from beachside Suffolk to go to Ballina;  Ray Darney said this was an issue being taken into consideration. Walkways from beachside Suffolk proposed to access site if commercial.

Proposed Re-Classification of the Suffolk Park Caravan Park:
Peter Wegner delivered a report on the proposal.   A letter received from Council by the SPPA outlines that reclassification will be part of the new LEP process.

Ray Darney stated that it is NOT the objective of the BSC to sell the land; funds were not an issued for this council; their desire is to protect the permanent residents of the site. He says that as community land, residential leases cannot be renewed;  Peter Wegner argued that they can.  Need to look closely at the statutes. The other reason for continuing the park is to provide affordable holiday accommodation for the future.
One major concern is that the original objective of the land, ie. the gifting of the land to the community by George Suffolk,  is not being honoured by council.
Ray Darney also argued that the $300,000 annual revenue from the Park is benefiting the community, eg the sporting fields.

The possibility under operational land could include a “covenant” that stated the land could never be sold;  Pam Rose said that in the past, this issue had been examined and found to be not secure, that if Council puts a covenant on the land, it can also remove a covenant.

Motion: That a working party be established, comprising members of the Council and the Suffolk Park Community.  Proposed: Dudley Leggett   Seconded: Linda Holland.  Passed unanimously.   SPPA is to propose members to the Council. Members to include Dudley Leggett, Erainer Parker, Paul Brooks and Brett Connable.

Paul Brooks, manager of the Caravan park, says he has been working on a plan that would embrace the permanent residents, the holidaymakers, and the local community , in the usage of the Park.
Peter Stolz outlined the idea that, as the land technically belongs to the community, then the community as a whole needs to come forward and outline their vision for the use of the land.
Rather than present Council with simply defending the current situation, what about a new vision?
He argues that we would be more likely to win our case in this way.  A new vision could be a Park plus community garden, for the widest possible use by the community; the garden could be a  business enterprise that would benefit the community, engage the youth to work in it, become commercially viable.

Other Business:
Ron Halpin, from the Rural Fire Service, thanked the SPPA for its support for last week’s forum on vandalism.  Expressed that he felt somewhat “disheartened” by lack of outcomes from the meeting, mostly due to legislative constraints on the apprehension of youth.
Paul Brooks, manager of the Caravan Park, suggested positive moves towards activities for teenagers in the community.
Peter Stolz suggested a forum for teenagers and/or their parents on the issue.

The Meeting ended at 8.55pm.