Battle not over as case heads back to court
COULD Coffs Harbour City Council be heading back to the Land and Environment Court to defend its latest decision in relation to a strip of coastal land on the Northern Beaches?
Paul Reid's company Pridel Investments owns lot 62 Solitary Island Way, Emerald Beach, a 29.7 hectare block between the ocean and Solitary Islands Way, just north of the coastal village.
Mr Reid has been trying to develop it for almost three decades.
"I'm afraid I don't have much confidence in the way the shire is being run at the moment," he said.
"For 26 years I've been mucking around with this. It's been knocked back on all kinds of things like flooding and global warming and climate change.
"God help Park Beach if this actually happens and sea levels rise a metre.
"We're planning for things that might happen. An asteroid might hit earth and wipe us all out. We're dealing with a whole lot of perhapses."
In March, 2015, the council knocked back Mr Reid's proposal for a 40-lot subdivision there.
Angered by the outcome he initiated proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court.
The court upheld the decision, but the fight cost the council $600,000 in legal fees.
Now Mr Reid has plans to build a large two-storey home situated 150 metres from the water.
The proposal came before the council in August last year with opponents saying the underlying concerns in relation to the high conservation value of the land, fire risk, and its proximity to the ocean remained although a planning report from senior staff recommended the development be approved.
"We know that building homes right behind the dunes is a bad idea and it is just a matter of time before it's a problem. The closeness to the ocean, combined with fire risk, make it an unsuitable location for even a single home," Cr Sally Townley argued.
Like a number of other matters up for consideration at the time, including the controversial Cultural and Civic Space, the votes were tied four-four.
Councillors Townley, Tegan Swan, Denise Knight and George Cecato voted to knock it back while councillors Michael Adendorff, Keith Rhoades, Paul Amos and John Arkan wanted to see it go ahead.
Ultimately it was Mayor Denise Knight's casting vote, which supported Cr Townley's motion to deny the DA.
With the proposal defeated efforts turned towards negotiations between the State Government and Mr Reid to purchase the land for conservation purposes.
The property is surrounded by protected areas including the Sandy Beach Nature Reserve to the north and the Coffs Coast Regional Park on the coastal side.
But Mr Reid says the State Government's offer was not enough and although he is hopeful of a higher offer he has no choice but to commence proceedings in the Land and Environment Court within the six-month widow of opportunity since the council's August decision.