Brigalow Caravan Park to close

BRIGALOW Caravan Park may be in a state of decay but its imminent closure reduces even further affordable housing options for low-income earners in the Bellingen Shire.

In the debate to approve a proposed redevelopment of the south Urunga riverside land for residential subdivision, Cr Kerry Child argued the council had a moral obligation to offer some form of cheap accommodation to low-income earners and not simply push them away.

“Homelessness is a chronic problem in the shire and to convert this land to residential development does not help these people,” Cr Child said.

The development would create 22 residential lots initially with another 30 lots to be released in two future stages.

In a social impact statement the NSW Department of Housing suggested the council seek a voluntary planning agreement with the developer to include some affordable housing on the site.

Director of planning, Charlie Hannavy, said this had not happened because the site itself was not appropriate for affordable housing.

“It is on the edge of the town – such housing really needs a more strategic location,” Mr Hannavy said.

He said provisions had been made by the applicant to assist in relocating the two remaining permanent tenants and semi-permanent residents were well-aware of the imminent closure.

Cr Gordon Braithwaite spoke in support of the application saying someone always got hurt in subdivisions and Urunga ‘had been singing out for land’ for years.

“A couple of people will suffer but this will be of long-term benefit to the community,” he said.

Cr Ian Coe said the provision of affordable housing was the responsibility of the NSW government and the council could not refuse an application on the grounds of State government ineffectiveness.

The application included earthworks to ensure the site was well above the 1:100-year-flood level.

It was passed with 100 attached conditions and Cr Child’s dissenting vote.

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