Bucca residents learn more about the proposed centre.
Bucca residents learn more about the proposed centre.

Time is extended

BUCCA residents opposed to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre proposal in Randalls Rd have been granted more time to have their say on the development.

The public display and submission period for the $7.5 million centre, which will go before the Joint Regional Planning Panel for approval, has been extended to April 20.

It comes after residents complained they only found out about the plans after submissions had closed.

On Tuesday night up to 150 residents attended a public information night at the Nana Glen Hall.

Coffs Harbour City Council staff and the developers, not-for-profit organisation Adele, gave further information on the proposal.

In a press statement, Adele director of services Vincent Tempone said the organisation provided residential rehabilitation and employment development to around 184 men recovering from alcohol and drug abuse each year.

It says some of its clients are offenders ordered into the program by the court system.

"The average client stay is three to six months, and for those who complete the program the return to work rate is over 90%," Mr Tempone said.

"Adele teaches men who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, important living skills and work skills - providing a path to self dependence and employment."

Having operated a group home at Moonee Beach for a decade, Adele has worked closely with the NSW Government and health organisations across the North Coast.

But Randall's Rd resident Craig Dorrough is deeply concerned, claiming the application represents a major rezoning by stealth.

"It complies with neither the letter nor the intent of the current town plan (LEP) which we all live under," Mr Dorrough said.

"The town plan specifies rural scale buildings and compatible rural industry; 40 young male drug and alcohol addicts coming from the Parramatta Court in Sydney does not comply.

"They are to be housed in the largest new development project in the Coffs Harbour shire.

"To pretend that these people pose no problems to our children and our property is naive in the extreme."

Bucca Rd property owner Gordon King, whose property is about two kilometres from the proposed rehabilitation centre site, is outraged by the proposal.

"We're basically being forced to take the word of drug addicts in rehabilitation that they will not threaten the security of nearby property owners," Mr King said.

"Adele's representatives told the meeting the only protection we have is that these people will abide by the rules or be kicked out, that's little comfort to me as a nearby property owner with kids."

The proposal is available for viewing at the Nana Glen General Store and at the Coffs Harbour City Council chambers.

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