Tourist resort figures questioned

An artist’s impression of the proposed function centre at the $13.6 million tourist and function centre at Bellawongarah.

An artist’s impression of the proposed function centre at the $13.6 million tourist and function centre at Bellawongarah.

TOURIST Road resident Fred Owen has questioned some of the figures stated by the  developer of a $13.6 million tourist and function centre at Bellawongarah.

Developer David Hamilton addressed concerns of local residents in Wednesday’s South Coast Register, but Mr Owen, whose 20-acre property is just over two kilometres  from the proposal, said some of the figures conveyed in the article contradicted information in the development application to Shoalhaven Council.

“Mr Hamilton said the most people that would be on the site at any one time would be 120 guests and 20 staff,” Mr Owen said.

“In the application, some of the reports state there could be up to 200 people.

“He stated the capacity of the restaurant would be 75 – the application states the restaurant will be licensed to take 90 people.”

Mr Owen said at two community meetings, including one at the historic property, Mr Hamilton stated the resort’s facilities would only be available to its guests.

“Now, Mr Hamilton is saying the restaurant and other facilities would be available to everyone, where he earlier categorically denied that,” Mr Owen said.

An artist’s impression of the proposed cabins at the $13.6 million tourist and function centre at Bellawongarah.

An artist’s impression of the proposed cabins at the $13.6 million tourist and function centre at Bellawongarah.

Mr Owen also questioned traffic figures.

“Mr Hamilton estimated one extra car every one-and-a-half minutes in peak time. That will be an additional 200 cars per day,” Mr Owen said.

“The estimated traffic flow on Kangaroo Valley Road is about 1000 cars a day.

“Their own figures in the application said there would be a 62 to 84 per cent increase in traffic, which is well in excess of the 200 cars that figure estimates.”

Mr Owen also questioned the statement about the proposal only using 10 per cent of the overall property.

“The property is more than 180 acres, yet the application states the resort will have a 49.6 acre footprint when it is completed – that’s closer to 30 per cent, than 10 per cent,” he said.

Mr Owen claimed the development had only been listed as an eco lodge so approval could be made by the Joint Regional Planning Panel and not Shoalhaven City Council.

“To be refereed to the JRPP, a development must be valued at more than $20 million. But if it is called an eco resort, anything valued at more than $5 million is referred to the JRPP,” he said.

“I believe this has been done so council doesn’t make the decision. Sure, council can make recommendations to the JRPP but they don’t actually make the final decision.

“Keeping council out of the local decision making is not good for the community.

“We elect councillors to represent our views and make the best decisions available.”

Mr Owen said, like a number of local residents, he was against the development.

“Mr Hamilton commented that people from Sydney would come here, relax and enjoy what we do, every day of the week,” he said.

“They can do that now at any of the local B and Bs. We don’t need another Kangaroo Valley Golf Course style resort, which has gone into liquidation three times because they can’t get customers to make it economically viable.

“The last thing we want to end up with is a white elephant that is turned into a one-star caravan park because economically it doesn’t have viability.”

Mr Owen said the proposal would impact on bed and breakfast establishments in the area and on the surrounding environment and local water supply. 

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