Campaigner Kay Davidson on the shores of Hearnes Lake.
Campaigner Kay Davidson on the shores of Hearnes Lake.

Battle of Hearnes Lake

COFFS Harbour City Council general manager Steve McGrath has confirmed he has the delegated authority to commence proceedings in the Land and Environment Court on behalf of Coffs Harbour City Council.

“The delegations to the general manager are quite broad,” Mr McGrath said.

But the GM said he would only undertake such a process after receiving legal advice on all the options available and their likelihood of success.

The confirmation was sought following remarks made by Coffs Harbour City councillor Mark Graham yesterday claiming the Coffs Harbour GM had the power to appeal the Part 3A approval of a controversial coastal development north of Coffs Harbour.

The Sandy Shores subdivision of up to 200 lots on a site bounded by Sandy Beach, Hearnes Lake, the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Highway, received concept approval from the Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, on December 21.

Council’s long-standing position, backed by environmental studies, has been development on the land in question should be restricted to 35 lots on the most elevated portion of the site.

Successive owners over more than 30 years have failed to gain support for major development of the low-lying site.

Cr Graham, who has been a particularly vocal critic of the Sandy Shores proposal, recently received a written death threat for his opposition to the development – a threat that included Rodney Degens, a fellow Greens councillor who is also campaigning for the State seat of Coffs Harbour, held by Nationals MP Andrew Fraser.

Cr Graham said council had a case to appeal against the State Government’s concept approval, but he preferred to see important strategic matters placed before the full council for resolution.

“Council has very strong grounds to undertake a judicial review appeal in the Land and Environment Court,” he said.

“At law, council can represent the public interest in a very strong case appealing against the minister’s concept approval for 200 lots at Hearnes Lake.”

Council has until March 20 to lodge an appeal against the concept approval.



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