A letter, dated May 18, was sent to Ballina Shire Council from Brendan Menegazzo announcing the formal withdrawal of the development application by Ringtank Pty Ltd.
Facilities planned for the site were stated to be for private use only, and not for commercial use.
The four packages of land were purchased by the late Angela and Peter Menegazzo between April and September in 2005.
A Ringtank Pty Ltd spokeswoman told The Northern Star, the family have had strong ties to the Ballina Shire.
“The Menegazzo family has a long association with the region and is a proud supporter of the local surf lifesaving club and other community groups in the area,” she said.
Slated for the site was three houses, a 10-site caravan park, equine facilities including stables, veterinary facility, quarantine stalls, horse float and equipment shelters and two equestrian exercise lawns, private outdoor recreation facilities including go-kart track, shooting range, associated buildings, roadworks, earthworks including dam and landscaping.
In early 2017, town planner Rod Willis said the council had never navigated such a complex, private development application – due to its “non-commercial elements” such as 10 caravan park sites.
On December 23, 2016, $124,130.98 was paid in council fees and levies to process the DA.
Among the 280 documents attached to proposal were more than 50 letters of concern regarding the project.
Some of those concerns related to increased noise from the helicopter, motorsport and shooting activities.
Joseph Goodwin who had lived on Empire Vale Rd in South Ballina for more than 43 years, claimed his house was 900m from the proposed helipad.
Mr Goodwin said the helicopter activity coupled with the other recreational facilities, such as the proposed go-kart track, don’t fit the South Ballina lifestyle.
“These activities are not welcome in a quiet rural setting,” Mr Goodwin said.
Another resident said the activities were “inconsistent and incompatible with a rural agricultural area”.
Residents also raised concerns about the impact of increased traffic on rural roads, the closure of a beach access road, and the possible overflow effect from a 18 megalitre dam.
ONGOING battles with developers have seen Ballina Shire Council’s legal bills skyrocket over the past three years.
According to a report on the most recent legal matters, council staff acknowledged that costs had been “exceptionally high”.
In 2017-18 the council spent $967,000 on legal costs, followed by $503,000 in 2018-19 and just over $1 million in the last financial year.
Those figures do not include lease documentation, property matters, contracts or staff time.
The council’s planning and environmental health director, Matthew Wood, said staff always tried to work proactively with developers to overcome potential issues in an effort to avoid court proceedings.
“We would prefer not to go through a court process; the costs add up exponentially,” he said.
“The other disadvantage of the court process is that it can take a considerable amount of time to get to a resolution ‒ months or even years.”
According to a report to councillors, the major increase in costs has been “primarily due to council’s ongoing legal cases with Intrapac, with approximately $1.6 million in legal costs incurred in respect to their developments during the last four years”.
More than $750,000 has also been spent on a DA stoush with Palm Lake, but an order on costs in council’s favour has not yet been determined.
Mr Wood said Intrapac had also commenced a challenge on the developer contributions at the new Aureus estate at Skennars Head.
That is expected to cost at least another $250,000.
This has led to the item being placed on the agenda for the council’s facilities committee meeting on Monday, July 13.
The council is set to look at three options, including maintaining the current eight-week schedule, returning to the original four-week schedule or implementing a new six-week exhibition program.
Maintaining the current timeframe is preferred as, according to the meeting’s agenda, it allows the gallery to offer an “expanded cultural program, operational efficiencies and consistency with industry standards”.
Earlier this year, petition co-founder Paul Button said the increased timeframe diminished much needed exhibition opportunities.
“It also means that all the general public, and it is a community gallery, … would have 50 per cent less art to go and see, which is not the way we thought it should go,” he said.
However, the council has maintained its stance that an eight-week time frame is the best available option and has nominated that as it’s recommendation ahead of the meeting.
The meeting takes place Monday, July 13 at the Ballina Shire Council Chambers, commencing at 4pm and can be lifestreamed on the council’s website.
THINGS are looking up at Ballina Airport, with the return of a number of airlines which pulled their services due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virgin Australia is looking to reintroduce services between Sydney and Ballina in mid to late July.
The expansion comes as demand for travel has increased by almost 20 per cent across Virgin’s network in comparison to the same period last week.
“Demand for air travel is slowly beginning to return and while we are operating a reduced schedule, we’ll continue to add more services and frequencies as demand increases and restrictions ease,” a Virgin Australia Group spokesman said.
Before the pandemic hit, Virgin made up 20 per cent of air traffic from Ballina airport.
Cr Wright said he was amazed at how quickly business through the airport was rebuilding at this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were told the airport would be running 18 flights per week by the school holidays, instead we’ll have 42 flights per week,” Cr Wright said.
“Ballina is growing, and the airport is a vital part of that.”
LOCAL Ballina residents and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery are at odds over changes to the gallery’s exhibition time frame.
Previously, Northern Rivers Community Gallery changed artist exhibits monthly, however, exhibits are now shown for two months following the change in 2019.
In response, local residents from the community rallied together to express their dismay via a petition over the exhibiting opportunities diminishing for local artists.
“It also means that all the general public, and it is a community gallery, … would have 50 per cent less art to go and see, which is not the way we thought it should go,” Paul Button, co-organiser of the petition, said.
However, the NRCG said that from their feedback, artists are relishing the chance at longer exposure.
“NRCG has received positive feedback from exhibiting artists who receive more exposure as a result of the longer exhibition period.”
Mr Button said that the gallery appears to be drifting away from it’s community focus in recent times.
“What we think is they may have lost their way in terms of trying to be more of a regional gallery, a Sydney gallery or whatever they’re endeavouring to do we don’t know,” Mr Button said.
The NRCG said the changes which created this issue were meant to benefit the community in other ways.
“Council has identified that maintaining the monthly exhibition program would reduce the resourcing and staff capacity to deliver these complementary creative programs that NRCG has built a reputation for, and, which have unique cultural and educational value for the entire community,” a spokesperson said.
The petition has recorded over 400 signatures and Mr Button said he hoped the council and the gallery would be flexible.
“There are two situations, maybe a compromise … there are five exhibition areas, maybe some of the areas (could change) every two weeks or every month to ensure there is still variety … but what we would like to do is go back to monthly,” Mr Button said.
The gallery said that the changes simply bring the organisation in-line with other galleries around the country.
“Current gallery programming time frames are based on professional industry standards across similar public regional and community gallery spaces across Australia,” a spokesperson said.
The gallery is an important part of the Ballina community, last year it supported 226 artists made up of 94 artists exhibited, 74 artist shop suppliers, 52 artists employed, six visiting artists.