Plans for $45M ‘play haven’ at Ballina withdrawn


PLANS to build a $45 million private ‘play haven’ at Empire Vale have been withdrawn after a four-year battle to get approval.

The development application for the 219ha property – that included a caravan park, helipad, equestrian facility, shooting range and go kart track – was first lodged in 2016, and faced backlash from neighbours and a battle to for approval.

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.

gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.

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.

gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.

gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.

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.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel heard submissions from the community on the private development in 2018, but the matter was returned to Ballina Shire Council for more information.

A number of amendments were made to the DA, but it was withdrawn in May this year.

Ringtank has been contacted for comment.





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NRL star Curtis Scott has has police assault allegations withdrawn in court on Thursday


The incredible bodycam footage that helped clear rugby league star Curtis Scott from a number of police assault allegations has emerged.

The allegations were dropped after a magistrate described the allegations against Scott as “dreamily raising his arms”.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports Scott is now considering taking action against the officers invovled

“He (Scott) is absolutely livid about this,” Macedone was quoted by the publication. “He certainly wants to consider it (taking further action).”

Police body cam footage shows the 22-year-old slumped up against a tree and passed out.

When police arrive they shone a spotlight on his face and attempted to wake him by pinching his ear and rubbing his sternum.

The Raiders outside back, with his eyes still closed, waves their hands away.

Scott was told to “get up” before one of the officers says “stop, don’t resist mate as he is handcuffed while his eyes are closed and still passed out.

Scott pleaded guilty to two minor charges but had five other serious allegations of assaulting police and resisting arrest withdrawn.

The crown prosecution case collapsed on Wednesday after CCTV played to the court showed Scott being handcuffed while he was passed out under a tree.

His barrister Murugan Thangaraj SC told the court that because Mr Scott was not told he was under arrest before he was handcuffed, the rest of the prosecution case could not go ahead.

“There is no power for police to handcuff someone who is not under arrest,” Mr Thangaraj said.

“If the police do handcuff someone, then they have been arrested because they have been detained.”

Scott was arrested after he was found passed out underneath a tree at Moore Park following boozy Australia Day celebrations earlier this year.

Mr Thangaraj pointed out that at no point was Mr Scott told he was under arrest and argued it was therefore unlawful for him to be placed in handcuffs.

He said therefore the rest of the prosecution case had to be thrown out because he could not assault police or resist arrest if he wasn’t under arrest in the first place.

Magistrate Jennifer Giles said one of the allegations of police assault amounted to Scott “dreamily” using his arms to brush away one attempt by the police to wake him.

“It is drawing a very long and frightening bow to argue the police can handcuff someone they’re trying to wake up who is sleeping underneath a tree that is not under arrest,” Magistrate Jiles said.

The police prosecution withdrew their case after Magistrate Jiles ruled he was not under arrest.

The court was played 72 seconds of police bodycam footage however it did not capture the entirety of the incident.

The court heard that later on one of the officers stood on Mr Scott’s ankle while it was resting on a tree root, causing him to kick out.

“He was clearly acting in self defence,” Mr Thangaraj said.

He bad already been pepper sprayed with Mr Thangaraj arguing he was already “writhing in tears and pain”

He was then punched in the back several times by a male officer which Mr Thangaraj said amounted to Mr Scott being assaulted by police.

The crown prosecution said that police were called after a man approached a taxi at nearby Paddington and began acting in an aggressive manner.

He was soon after seen in the middle of the roadway and threw a mobile phone at a passing car.

Just after midnight he was found by an SCG Trust security passed out underneath a tree on the grounds of Centennial Park.

Scott pleaded guilty to two minor charges of behaving in an offensive manner.



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