Land plan generates discussion

THE feasibility of pushing ahead with a new residential and industrial hub at Valla generated plenty of discussion at Thursday night’s meeting of the Nambucca Shire Council.

Councillors were being asked to endorse an expenditure of $65,000 to $75,000 for ecological and archaeological studies as part of the Valla Urban Growth Area Plan.

Councillor Mike Moran said that he couldn’t support the studies because he didn’t believe there was likely to be any demand for new residential and industrial land for many years to come.

He surprisingly received support from Cr Paula Flack.

“I know it is very rare for me to be in agreement with Cr Moran but I don’t think there is justification in council investing considerable amounts of money when there would not seem to be any demand,” Cr Flack said. “I can’t support this motion when our roads are in a bad way, bridges are falling down and public toilets need upgrading.”

Cr John Ainsworth argued that the studies needed to be done.

“The sooner they are done the better,” Cr Ainsworth said.

“We need to attract growth to the area.”

It was a view shared by Cr Brian Finlayson.

“It would seem that Valla is where all the growth is happening so I think we need to push ahead with the studies,” Cr Finlayson said.

The mayor, Cr Rhonda Hoban, said that while there may not be demand now it was imperative in terms of proper planning to do the studies.

“When the demand builds council will be under a lot of pressure to deliver, so I believe we should do the studies now to get the planning right and to save a lot of headaches down the track,” Cr Hoban said.

The motion to fund the ecological and archaeological studies was passed by five votes to two.

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