Dave Wood addresses the public conciliation meeting at Hi Tech Drive.
Dave Wood addresses the public conciliation meeting at Hi Tech Drive. TREVOR VEALE

Lawyers meet again as battle over controversial DA continues

LAWYERS on either side of a drawn out battle over a controversial proposal to develop bushland in Toormina meet again today.

The application for a 57-lot subdivision on Sawtell Road was first submitted to Coffs Harbour City Council in April last year but is now with the Land and Environment Court.

"Every morning I get up and see that the trees are still there I'm thankful,” Dave Wood from the 'Save Lot 2 Sawtell Road' group said.

The matter was most recently before the 'court' during an on-site conciliation conference in front of the Commissioner from the Land and Environment Court Paul Adams on April 30.

Lawyers inspected the site which fronts Sawtell Road opposite the Linden Avenue intersection and continues through to the Hogbin Drive Industrial Estate. This was followed by a public conciliation conference at Hi-Tech Dr, Toormina attended by well over 100 people.

The matter was unable to be resolved on the day and the case adjourned for three weeks until today (May 22) to allow the applicant, Regional Ethical Developments (RED) Coffs Coast, to provide further information to council as part of the mediation process.

on site court visit lot 2 Sawtell Rd.. 30 APRIL  2018
Proponent Dan Stevens from Regional Ethical Developments at the conciliation meeting. TREVOR VEALE

The site includes approximately six hectares recognised and mapped as Primary Koala Habitat in the Coffs Harbour City Council Koala Plan of Management.

Another section has been mapped in the Coffs Harbour LEP as an Endangered Ecological Community (Coastal Paperbark and Sedgeland swamp habitat).

Housing lots will range in size from 450 to 886 metres with two of the larger lots identified potentially for seniors housing or a childcare centre.

Residents opposed to the development also fear for the future health of Boambee Creek.

There has also been questions raised in relation to the cultural assessments for the site.

"The developers said they'd done a 'cultural heritage report', however the registered elders group did not sight or endorse this. We share dismay at animal habitat destruction to suit developers.

"Lot 2 land is of great significance to our animals and culture,” Fiona Row told the conciliation conference.

In a letter to residents lawyers have stated they will update residents on the outcome of today's proceedings later in the day.