Mayor outraged at decision

PLANNING Minister Tony Kelly’s decision to give concept approval to a subdivision of up to 200 lots between Hearnes Lake and Sandy Beach has evoked local fury.

“Out of all the (State Government) decisions I’ve seen in 20 years in local government this would have to be one of the worst,” Coffs Harbour mayor Cr Keith Rhoades said.

Coffs Harbour City Council was finally notified in writing yesterday of the concept approval of the large Sandy Shores development, which it wants to see limited to 35 lots on the low-lying coastal site.

“It just shows the contempt they hold the local council in – it is getting to the stage this Part 3A business is an absolute sham,” Cr Rhoades said.

“What (else) is going to be approved around NSW by the State Government before the March election?

“The sooner we get to the polls the better.

“ICAC investigated Part 3A (planning approvals) because of alleged potential corruption – surely there is something in the Constitution that would stop the government determining these developments?

“A 200-lot subdivision at Sandy Beach is not a state significant project.”

Cr Rhoades was particularly outraged because the decision was made by the Planning Minister only a few days after the Mayor met Mr Kelly in Sydney and urged the Minister not to approve it.

“I had a face to face with Tony Kelly about December 15-17 and told him: ‘Don’t listen to your staff if they are recommending it – it is wrong’, Cr Rhoades said.

“I told him the project should not be approved for what is being asked – because of the environment; wetlands; flooding – and he said ‘I know the place’.

“There is more to this than what we know.”

Cr Rhoades said there was no way to appeal under the Part 3A planning legislation but Coffs Harbour City Council would check out any means available to it to fight the decision.

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