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D-Day looms for housing estate

Allan Wilcox lives in Waianbar Ave, South West Rocks, which is situated next to the Saltwater Estate development and has concerns regarding increased traffic through the quiet street A CONTROVERSIAL housing development at South West Rocks will face its final hurdle to get development approval (DA) tomorrow when it fronts up to the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).

The development, commonly referred to as the Saltwater Estate, is currently going through the DA process with the JRPP, a panel that makes DA decisions. The panel provides independent, merit-based decision making on regionally significant developments.

Twenty-nine housing lots are proposed for the first stage of the Saltwater Estate development, which is situated close to Saltwater Lagoon, with a further 338 housing lots slated for the area in subsequent stages.

The developers, South West Rocks Developments, describe the development as a ‘master planned residential coastal village incorporating residential lots, environmental protection facilities, sporting fields and open space’.

However, the development has received some opposition from the community and from Kempsey Shire Council, who recommended in a recent submission to the JRPP that the development be refused due to lack of detail regarding further planned stages including groundwater issues, traffic management and environmental concerns.

“After careful consideration, it is concluded that the application fails to provide sufficient detail on the critical matters for the concept plan to enable a proper assessment of the development to be undertaken,” the council submission argued.

“Accordingly, the application is therefore recommended for refusal.”

Last year Port Macquarie resident and environmentalist John Jeayes told the Macleay Argus he was against the development due to his concern regarding the Wallum Froglet which has been found in the vicinity of the Saltwater Estate.

“The Wallum Froglet is a threatened species and the developers claim there was only one found in the area,” Mr Jeaves said.

“They don’t understand if an ecologist finds one froglet it has come from somewhere and most likely there will be more and it is a threatened species and the development will most likely destroy their habitat.”

Allan Wilcox lives in Waianbar Ave, South West Rocks, which is situated next to the development and has concerns regarding increased traffic through the relatively quiet street.

“Hundreds of homes are expected in future stages and Waianbar Ave is only one road that accesses the development,” Mr Wilcox said.

“We don’t want our road to become a super highway which it will be if the development is approved.”

Friends of South West Rocks secretary Damon Baker said the development will impact the ecology of the Saltwater Lagoon and the effects of climate change and rising sea levels could make the location vulnerable to inundation by 2100.

“It has been recommended in council’s own management plan that a full flood assessment including catchment flooding and sea level rise should be done and factored into the development and at this stage that has not happened,” Mr Baker said.

However, South West Rocks Developments project manager Steve MacDonald said all the environmental, flooding and water issues have been considered.

“The environmental, flooding and water issues have been part of the decision of the council and the State Government when the land was rezoned,” Mr MacDonald said.

“When the area went from rural zoning to urban zoning those things were all factored in the rezoning and analysis shows that Waianbar Ave can well and truly cater for the traffic to be generated by the 29 lots proposed in the first stage.”

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