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City View Drive gets the thumbs up as budget gets put on display

The Lismore App

Simon Mumford

14 May 2024, 8:00 PM

City View Drive gets the thumbs up as budget gets put on display

As predicted, last night's May Lismore City Council meeting will go into a second night as the 10:30 end time came with only half the business paper completed.


The development application (DA) for 37 City View Drive in East Lismore was approved after six public speakers (four against and two for) and a 25-minute debate between councillors.



Those speaking against the motion to approve the DA spoke about stormwater runoff, slippage, the potential for landslides and the integrity of existing homes. In fact, one speaker said she spoke to one resident who said that some owners are considering the option of a class action against council should the DA be approved and the "situation worsens."


Those speaking for the motion, spoke about the benefits that 13 new housing blocks will have on our housing crisis and the fact that it has been zoned residential for the last 40 years.


Councillor (Cr) Ekins spoke against the motion saying, "I do think it is an overdevelopment of the area" and that she would much rather see quite a few lots removed from this development. Cr Ekins said the decision was hasty and she would like to see more detailed studies for stormwater flow that could make the slope unstable. It should be noted that the blocks are all sloping towards the Wilsons Nature Reserve.



Mayor Krieg countered Cr Ekins's claim that the DA was hasty, saying it was a bit of a misnomer. The landowner has been trying to pass this DA for the last four years with the cost of rates and water charges being charged. The mayor spoke about the pressure in the chamber to make the right decision, "It might not necessarily be the popular decision, but as councillors, we're entrusted by the community to make the decision in the best interests of the 45,000 members of our community."


Angela Place, also in East Lismore, is another community titled subdivision that was referenced as a successful DA example.


Cr Gordon made mention of the criticism of the current homeowners because when they first moved to City View Drive to "put a roof over the head of their family", there were paddocks and remnants of the big scrub.



"To site environmental concerns about the homes of others whilst living in your home itself, which was once part of the big scrub in my mind, is null and void."


Cr Colby put forward a foreshadowed motion where three additional conditions need to be satisfied before the DA is granted, stormwater mitigation, slippage and the developer submitting a proper management plan for the Community Titled DA.


LCC Chief Community Officer Eber Butron explained that all conditions have already been considered, are part of the approval process, and have been incorporated into the DA, and that they "Are in stone."


Cr Cook supported Cr Colby’s motion and talked about the DA at 805 Ballina Road that had drafts and diagrams of stormwater running across the site, retention basins, details of the slope, cut and fill etc. "The information was available for us at this stage."


The DA was passed 5/4 with Crs Gordon, Hall, Jensen, Bing and Krieg voting for and Crs Cook, Colby, Bird and Ekins against. Cr Guise was absent from the meeting, while Cr Rob excluded himself through conflicts of interest.


Budget


The Draft revised 2023-2027 Delivery Program and 2024-2025 Operational Plan, the Long Term Financial Plan and the Strategic Asset Management Plan will be placed on public exhibition very soon.


The items on the agenda that impact residents are the increases in rate costs in 2024/25.



Council staff have calculated next year's budget with the inclusion of the full 4.7% IPART rate peg. This was something Cr Rob questioned, as he preferred a zero increase and could this be changed after public exhibition?


Cr Cook spoke about being restricted to rate pegging while costs go through the roof, leaving council with the task of increasing revenue or cutting services, and council is limited by its ability to increase revenue when it owns assets like GSAC, the airport and the quarry. "But there is light at the end of tunnel," Cr Cook said for the rest of this council and the next.


That light is in the Long Term Financial Plan, where council is aiming for a budget surplus in the next two to three years, which pleased Mayor Krieg.


"It's going to be hard and it's going to be unpopular at times, but we've got to stay the course if we're going to achieve those goals," the mayor said.


Part of the unpopular but necessary decisions is moving to the 'user pay' system. A notable example is a 57% increase in Waste charges. It was explained that the large increase is what council needs to charge to cover costs for our waste collection service.


There is also a $10 increase ($65 to $75) to cart our waste from Lismore to Ipswich in Queensland. which is not eligible for state government funding.



As Cr Gordon said, it is a "long road to recovery" after over a decade of budget black holes.


Next year's budget includes $300 million of expenditure and managing $1.7 billion in assets.


Taking on new assets like the Rail Trail and Skate Park and affording the ongoing maintenance bill is a concern for Cr Rob and is something council staff will be watching but it is manageable according to staff.


The motion was passed, so at the end of this week, the Draft Plans will be placed on public exhibition for everyone to view and then to make submissions that will go back to council to read the feedback and either change or adopt the budget before June 30.


Part 2 of the May LCC meeting will resume at 6 tonight.


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