Planning Dept backs Shaolin concept

THE Department of Planning and Environment has recommended the concept plan for the Shaolin residential and tourist complex at Comberton Grange be approved.

The plan was lodged with the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) in July.

The department recommended PAC approve the concept plan subject to a number of conditions.

The project’s social and economic benefits for the South Coast were considered in the public interest.

In the report to PAC the assessment recognised the need for the temple proposal in terms of promoting development in the Shoalhaven.

The department found some issues with traffic, biodiversity and water quality impacts but was satisfied the recommended modifications to the plan would resolve the issues.

Shoalhaven City Council’s Development and Environ-mental Services director Tim Fletcher said the recommendation was a major step for the proposal.

“It’s a huge step in a sense that after six years of going back and forth, the report has been done and it recommends approval,” he said.

Mr Fletcher likened the concept approval to the Vincentia shopping centre in that once the overall idea was approved there would be more detailed approvals later.

“Those downstream approvals would be assessed by the Joint Regional Planning Panel or council depending on the scale.

“But the overall concept approval is essential,” he said.

The proposal would be staged in three parts.

Stage one includes site clearing, infrastructure works and bulk earthworks.

Construction of the temple would take place in stage and involves limited tourist and residential developments. Stage three expands on the tourist and residential development.

The $360 million proposal includes a Shaolin Temple complex, a four-star 500-bed hotel, kung fu academy, educational facility, retail shopping and community centre, golf course and 300 residential lots for the Falls Creek area.

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