Eco-tourism resort gets green light

A $1.6 million eco-tourism resort accommodating more than 70 guests is about to be built near Bellingen on Waterfall Way.

The project on a parcel of land in Fernmount just east of Sweedmans Lane has the green light from the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel which says it will not be a ‘total destination resort’.

“It will therefore be of economic benefit to the local community as guests are likely to make use of local shops, services and tourist facilities during their stay,” said panel chairman Garry West.

“Additionally, the tourist accommodation provided by the development would contribute to the continued viability of cultural events in the local area.

“The proposed development will also provide a function facility that is not available elsewhere in the shire.”

Mr West said the development complied with all planning instruments and while the capacity of the proposed tourist accommodation was much greater than other tourist cabin developments in the shire, the size, scale and location was acceptable.

The application includes:

  • a conference centre which can host functions for up to 120 people;
  • 18 two-bedroom cabins providing accommodation for up to 72 people;
  • associated infrastructure (new internal roads, upgraded roads, electricity, telecommunication services, on-site wastewater disposal, stormwater treatment facilities, installation of water tanks, on-site parking);
  • the clearing and under-scrubbing of vegetation; and
  • planting and regeneration works involving the planting of up to 1480 trees in four locations on the site.

Other elements of the development include:

  • buildings will be low density and low rise and barely visible from Waterfall Way or other properties;
  • construction materials will be natural and include timber and limestone;
  • minimal earthworks will be required because the cabins will be built on piers, the conference centre will be located on flat land and internal roads follow the contours of the site; and
  • revegetation works will be on the site frontage.

The development application was referred to the Joint Regional Planning Panel because it was classed as regional development and provided accommodation for more than 25 people.

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