SHOALHAVEN Mayor Joanna Gash is hopeful concept plans for the $360 million Shaolin complex proposal will be lodged with the Planning Assessment Commission by Friday.
“We have been pushing the State Department of Planning to get the concept plan through and we are hopeful that it will be finally lodged on Friday,” Cr Gash said.
“I spoke to Chris Wilson from the department on Tuesday and was assured it would be in by Friday for PAC to decide.
“I’m still very positive about the whole thing.
“Once it is lodged with PAC it could take between four and six weeks for a decision.”
She said PAC would come to the area and hold community consultations to hear any concerns.
Cr Gash defended council’s decision to defer interest payments on the property for the Shaolin organisation.
“Cr Guile well knows council decided many months ago we would hold the interest payments until the development application was approved or otherwise. Whichever one came first,” she said.
“It’s a huge investment in our city and I don’t want to see it pass.
“Should it not happen, council still owns the land. We can always take back the land.
“We have a $250,000 deposit and $640,000 in interest payments, we can’t lose either way and we still have the land. We could always resell it and Cr Guile knows that.
“I hope for the sake of the community, the sake of the city, for jobs, investment, tourism, you name it, the DA will be approved.”
Cr Gash said she understood the organisation’s reluctance to pay more money.
“They are not prepared to start investing in something should the concept plan not be approved and I understand that,” she said.
“They have Chinese investors who want to come and spend money in this city but why would they if they don’t know if it is going to be approved or not?
“I have spoken to Patrick Pang from the Shaolin Group, they have waited over eight years and I asked them to hang on another month or so to see what the outcome is.
“It has taken a long time; I’m very frustrated by that. It is a long process and in some cases they have been a little bit unfairly treated but there has also be fault on both sides.
“Council is supportive and we have let the Office of Environment and Heritage know, as far as council is concerned all conditions have been met.
“After approval by PAC any future DA approvals will be made by council.”
The multi-million dollar proposal comprises a Buddhist temple sanctuary complex, kung-fu academy, 500-bed four-star hotel, commercial shopping precinct, community centre and permanent housing residential development for the Falls Creek area.