The Department of Planning & Environment has recommended to the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) that a proposal for 650 homes west of Culburra Beach be refused.
The proposal, located on the southern bank of the Crookhaven River, covers nearly 100 hectares of land.
Approval was sought for 650 homes, 3.5 hectares of industrial development, tourist accommodation, cafes, restaurants, cycleways, picnic areas and a sports field.
In its recommendation to the IPC, the department concluded the proposal should be refused due to the potential for significant adverse impacts on water quality, Aboriginal heritage, and would require clearing of over 90 hectares of native vegetation.
The department’s executive director for Key Sites and Industry Assessments, Anthea Sargeant, said after careful consideration the West Culburra site was found to be unsuitable.
“Our detailed planning assessment found the site to be unsuitable for urban development of this scale and not in line with strategic planning for new housing near employment centres, services and infrastructure,” Ms Sargeant said.
“The Department appointed an independent water quality expert to assist in its assessment of the proposal. After careful consideration, the Department was not confident that stormwater from the development could be adequately managed to avoid serious impacts on the Crookhaven River estuary and the catchment of Lake Wollumboola, oyster aquaculture and protected wetlands.
“The applicant made some changes to the original concept proposal during the assessment process to address environmental concerns raised by government agencies.
“Changes were made to reduce the scale of the $40 million development within the Lake Wollumboola catchment and to remove development from the Crookhaven River foreshore, which is zoned for environmental protection.
“The overall scale of the concept proposal was not altered, with the application consistently proposing around 650 homes.”
The department is also considering a planning proposal lodged by the Halloran Trust in 2015, that covers 1680 hectares of land including the West Culburra site.
The Planning Proposal is supported by strategic planning and detailed environmental studies.
Ms Sargeant said the department was aware of the need for suitable growth at West Culburra but must first ensure the right balance is achieved with the most appropriate location for potential development selected.
“The current planning proposal is the most appropriate process for determining suitable locations and scale of residential development and areas requiring environmental conservation west of Culburra Beach,” Ms Sargeant said.