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Just Street residents have concerns over Goonellabah Resilient Lands site

The Lismore App

Simon Mumford

12 May 2024, 8:00 PM

Just Street residents have concerns over Goonellabah Resilient Lands site Residents from Just Street and Dudley Avenue attend a community meeting on Saturday at Mt Pleasant Estate in Goonellabah

Saturday's rain did not deter local residents, who surround the new Mt Pleasant Estate, from turning up to a NSW Reconstruction Authority (NSWRA) community BBQ in Goonellabah.

Mt Pleasant Estate was purchased by NSWRA as part of the $100 million Resilient Lands Program. It was the second local land announcement after the Southern Cross University-owned land off Crawford Road.

Unlike, the Crawford Road site, Mt Pleasant Estate is surrounded by established houses along Dudley Drive and Just Street, making it a more complex and difficult case study for the NSWRA.

As an open residential discussion was had, the concern was about property values, housing density and traffic issues along Just Street.

A few residents were selling their homes on Just Street and had received feedback from their realtor that the new development was a concern for prospective buyers. That did not stop offers from being submitted and it could be a bargaining tool used in negotiations.

The density question was raised numerous times with the general feeling that 50 houses was too much for the estate.

A NSWRA spokesperson told the group that the plan was for 'up to 50 houses' and nothing had been agreed on as the Master Plan had not been designed and drawn up. "This is the first step", was the common line used by the NSWRA, referring to the point that this was the first of a few community consultation BBQs so they could listen to feedback and talk to flood-affected residents before completing a Master Plan.

A couple of residents were concerned that decisions had already been made and the BBQ was just a PR exercise.

One man said, "I just bought the block down the road. You can't tell me what sort of house will be put here. I think I've heard enough." At that point, he walked off.

The issue of what type of house will be built and the relocation of flood-affected homes from South and North Lismore was raised due to the existing covenants and fitting in with the modern aesthetics of the area.

If relocated houses were put on a block at the top of the estate then they would block the view of existing homeowners on Dudley Drive who back onto Mt Pleasant Estate. NSWRA staff said this would be taken into consideration.

(Homes at the back of Dudley Drive, Goonellabah that back on to the new development)

As for whether relocated houses break the existing modern covenants and how they would fit with existing new builds. In short, what level of renovation would be completed? Again, the NSWRA staff tried to assure residents that this was their job, to create a community where flood-affected residents could live safely and out of flood.

The issue of density, had two potential impacts. One was increasing the traffic flow on an already busy Just Street because the cars (both residents and trades) left little room for two-way traffic flow, while the other was the potential number of townhouses built on the site.

Apart from creating more local residents, townhouses are a way to address affordability. A four-bedroom/two-bathroom house around the Mt Pleasant area would sell for around $900,000, which would be out of reach for someone who received $500,000 to $550,000 for their South or North Lismore home. A three-bedroom/two-bathroom townhouse could be valued at $450,00 to $550,000 and be within reach.

At the end of the day, you have to give credit to the NSWRA staff. They listened to the feedback and reinforced the fact that no plan or design has been locked in for the Mt Pleasant Estate; in fact, it hasn't even started because this is the first of a few community engagement sessions.

Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg was at the community BBQ, he told the Lismore App the session was invaluable.

"There were a lot of concerns that were raised, and they are understandable; it's really important for the community to voice their opinions. Not everything's rosy, but it was also good to be able to alleviate a lot of fears as well, which I hope happened."

"People have invested a lot of hard-earned money up and around this area and it's going to get turned into relocated homes. There are a lot of covenants that are already in place, so it's about being able to maintain the integrity of the estate and the development."

"Nothing has actually been done. As the RA will admit, they've only owned the land for a very short period. of time. There hasn't been long enough time to develop a plan. But what was very clear today is that through all stages of the planning process, the community in and around here will be consulted and have the chance to have the input."

"There were very clear messages that the RA, as the landowner, will have to take on board, but as council, we will step through that with them as well."

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