THE secretary of the Shaolin Foundation Phil Balding said if any more obstacles were put in front of the organisation for its planned $360 million tourism and residential complex at Comberton Grange it might be forced to walk away from the project.
Commenting after Wednes-day’s Planning Assessment Commission public hearing into the proposal, Mr Balding said it was getting to the stage that unless the project got the green light without further obstacles the foundation might have to reassess its position.
“It is hard to explain to our Chinese friends why this has taken so long,” he said.
“They can’t understand it. Things don’t happen like this in China.”
Twelve individuals or community group representatives made presentations at the PAC hearing at the Archer Resort.
Mr Balding criticised the South Coast Register’s reporting of the meeting, saying it was not a true representation.
“The article claims no one spoke in favour of the development and that was because only people who put in submissions with objections to the temple were allowed to speak,” he said.
“The whole purpose of the meeting was to allow those people to voice objections. They weren’t here to listen to people in favour of it.
“We or anyone in favour of the temple was not invited to speak against, defend or contradict some of the claims being made.
“Eleven speakers out of a population of 30,000 people is not a lot, is it?”
He said the group had taken on board some of the concerns raised at the meeting – the main issue was water quality, including run-off, erosion and possible silt going into Currambene Creek which is in the Jervis Bay catchment area.
“The engineers have looked at these things and factored in appropriate measures to stop erosion and run-off of silt into the area’s waterways. They are all part and parcel of any development,” he said.
Mr Balding said the Shaolin group met privately with PAC representatives, who undertook a tour of the area, on Tuesday, as did Shoalhaven City Council, to express concerns and put in written submissions about what they thought was more appropriate for the development of the site.
“We were happy with the meeting, they took on board and listened to what we had to say,” he said.
He said the commission indicated it would make a ruling within four to six weeks.
Meanwhile, Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis has weighed into the debate with an open letter urging opponents of the complex to consider the economic and cultural benefits of the projects.
He letter is published in full on page 10.