False start for Iluka Gateway approval

Screenshot 2015-09-24 14.43.15Despite appearing on the Department of Planning’s website as having been approved for Gateway, it appears that Iluka Reserve in Kiama Downs is not at that stage yet.

According to Phil Costello, Council’s Director of Environmental Services, the unique situation is due to recent changes to the reclassification process which were made after the proposal was submitted.

While indicating its willingness for the proposal to proceed to Gateway, the Department has now requested Council submit the proposal in a different format, which it will then fast-track to approve.

“It will not be until then that we know the conditions of the approval, but they will most likely include public consultation and a public hearing, and consultants’ reports on issues such as flooding risk,” he says.

It is unlikely that this work and consultative period will occur before Christmas.

Council has proposed selling off nine blocks on the higher area on the northern side of the Reserve. Funds raised would ‘embelish’ the park and provide funds for other projects. It has also been identified that there is room for eight possible allotments to be created utilising Council-owned road reserve on the western side of Riverside Drive, an option preferred by opponents of the Iluka Reserve sell-off.

Over 1,000 people have signed a petition against the Iluka Reserve plan.

At the November Council meeting, Councillor Neil Reilly asked for details of what studies support the assertion that the Reserve is underutilized; and for a copy of the a justification for a proposed development on the basis of its expected commercial benefit from the Long Term Revenue Committee.

“None of this basic information has been provided to councillors,” he says. “The process was started with undue haste by the last Council after attempts to sell-off two parcels of land at Jamberoo and the area at the back of the hospital were thwarted.”

 

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