The best laid plans

By DAVID MOASE

DEVELOPER Anthony Cougle knew he was onto a winner with his residential subdivision at North Sapphire Beach and that view has now been confirmed.

The master plan for the 247-lot development won the award for Rural and Regional Planning Achievement at the Planning Institute Australia NSW Division Awards for Excellence held in Sydney late last week.

It beat out impressive public and private contenders from around the state, including a 7000-lot development at Albury-Wodonga.

"It was a surprise and a great honour to be recognised by the Planning Institute," Mr Cougle said.

"The ceremony was held at the Sydney Hilton Hotel and attended by about 200 people, so it was a real thrill to be called up as a winner."

The plan for North Sapphire Beach is to mix conventional residential lots, mews areas and lots for villas and higher density developments in an area of 73.5 hectares east of the Pacific Highway and north of Split Solitary Road.

It will include more than 38 hectares of public reserves.

The Planning Institute recognised North Sapphire Beach's 'high level of master planning' representing 'a co-ordinated and responsive approach to a sensitive and important coastal location'.

Its report stated that one of the key outcomes of the master plan was 'the preservation and enhancement of the existing natural environment'.

Mr Cougle said he hoped to be able to start marketing the development by the end of the year.

While he is celebrating that award, the developer is dealing with resistance to another of his projects, the Emerald Seniors Living Community at Emerald Beach, which will be debated at the Coffs Harbour City Council meeting on Thursday.

Residents' group URGE (United Residents Group of Emerald) is calling on people opposed to the 173-dwelling development for over-55s to voice their concerns to councillors before the meeting and to turn out at the meeting carrying banners and placards.

A flier signed by URGE secretary John Doherty and circulated around Emerald Beach claims a survey carried out by the group shows 90 per cent opposition to the development, that buildings are out of character with the area, and there are problems with access to the Pacific Highway and bushfire escape routes.

Mr Cougle said his Planning Institute award should show that Emerald Seniors Living will be a quality development.

"It has received the same attention to detail and has involved the same team, including planners and landscape architects," he said.

"Why would I do good work in one area of Coffs Harbour and not in another?"



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