Shaolin hearing: not one voice in favour

Members of the Planning Assessment Commission, planner Nicky Gibson, chairperson and environmental lawyer Donna Campbell, retired architect Richard Thorp and environmental scientist David Johnson listen to submissions at the public meeting.

Members of the Planning Assessment Commission, planner Nicky Gibson, chairperson and environmental lawyer Donna Campbell, retired architect Richard Thorp and environmental scientist David Johnson listen to submissions at the public meeting.

NOT one speaker at Wednesday’s Planning Assessment Commission public meeting into the $360 million Shaolin complex at Comberton Grange spoke in favour of the proposal.

Twelve individuals or community group representatives made presentations at the meeting at the Archer Resort.

Concerns over the environment, the lack of public consultation and the actual number of jobs the proposal would create were among the major issues raised.

It was the last chance for members of the public to make representations on the Department of Planning and Environment’s report and recommendations before the fate of the project is determined.

The meeting was called due to the level of public interest in the proposal, including 20 objections.

Speakers were given between five and 15 minutes to address the panel, with one, Daniel Joseph McConnell, simply standing in silence for his five minutes, as a protest.

Up to 80 people attended the meeting staged by chairperson and environmental lawyer Donna Campbell, environmental scientist David Johnson, retired architect Richard Thorp and planner Nicky Gibson.

Speakers included Alan Stephenson of the Australian Orchid Council, Judith Gjedsted, former councillor David Phelps, Lake Woolumboola Protection Association representative Frances Bray, Graeme Gibson, Jervis Bay Regional Alliance representative Leslie Lockwood, Roger Hart, Angus Bishop, Maureen Webb, Peter Cumes and Nathan Deaves

The panel heard environmental concerns, ranging from effects on flora and fauna and water quality and possible impacts on nearby Jervis Bay.

The lack of “proper community consultation” and “the avoidance of transparency” were raised and whether the proposal would be the “significant tourism boost” promised by the developers.

Questions were also raised over the amount of traffic generated by the proposal and impacts on Forest Road and the newly upgraded intersection with the Princes Highway.

The PAC committee toured the Comberton Grange site on Tuesday and will now consider the information gathered at the meeting, look at the department’s assessments and reports and make a final decision on the project.

PAC could not provide a time frame for the final decision.

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