A master plan for Wollongbar drive-in unveiled
By BARRY CHEADLE
Forecast growth of 4500 people forces rethink from Ballina council
DAY CARE facilities, a preschool, hall, library, netball courts and a district park may be established on the old drive-in theatre site at Wollongbar.
Ballina Shire Council this week unveiled its revised master plan to cater for an estimated population growth of up to 4500 in the plateau community.
The council this week endorsed the Option Three layout within the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area (WUEA) ? an option which will see 1.1ha of the 4.6ha site retained by the council as a commercial entity for rezoning and development for housing.
Under a previous rezoning strategy, a conceptual layout allowed for two football fields overlaying a cricket oval and six netball courts.
However, Cr David Wright told this week's council meeting: "Wollongbar people have told us they don't want playing fields on the drive-in site."
He said Wollongbar needed 'proper playing fields' and that the council needed to make proper plans.
Cr Wright said he supported an interim plan to locate sporting fields on the TAFE site at Sneaths Road but he wanted 'permanancy' for playing fields.
A report from the council's Strategic Land Use Planning Section said: "Given the increasing problems of noise, lights and traffic associated with the intensive use of sporting fields that have been experienced in other parts of the shire and the advantages of providing large-scale facilities in centralised locations, a change in the open space strategy was considered warranted.
"It is proposed that playing field needs generated by the WUEA should be co-located with other existing or planned playing fields to create a large centralised facility.
"The provision of playing fields on the TAFE site in Sneaths Road is proposed to be an interim arrangement pending the location and funding of additional fields in another location."
The council's executive strategic planner, Steve Barnier, said planning for the future of the site had placed a big toll on the council's human resources.
He said there had been 'four or five' amendments to plans for the site.
Mr Barnier said there had been a forecast growth of 4500, although an exact figure would not be known until housing development applications were lodged.
Marilyn Perkins, of the Wollongbar Progress Association, described the situation as a dilemma.
She said she could understand why the council made the decision ? because it would be an income generator ? but she was concerned whether the council would see the plan through to fruition.
"We need a family space where families can go for a picnic and barbecue," she said.
Cr Keith Johnson described the plan as 'a very good one'.
Cr Alan Rich opposed the recommendation.
"If we get it a little bit wrong, what then?" he said.
Cr Rich cited Lennox Head as an example, where 'the demand for facilities has been underestimated'.
"We could build ourselves out," he said.
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