Concerned residents Dierdre Burnett (left) and Jeanette Coulson on the verandah of Blair Athol House at Wollongbar, which they
Concerned residents Dierdre Burnett (left) and Jeanette Coulson on the verandah of Blair Athol House at Wollongbar, which they

Fears held for historic home

By Willow Aliento

When Jeanette Coulson looks over her fence, she enjoys a garden view almost a century in the making.

That might be about to change.

The Laurel Hill Seniors Living development planned for Smith Lane at Wollongbar will possibly see the garden and Blair Athol, the house it surrounds, knocked down to make way for units.

Blair Athol was built in 1908 by the Smith family, just before the heritagelisted Laurel Hill house next door.

Laurel Hill is also part of the planned development, but will be preserved under its existing heritage listing.

The new owner of Blair Athol, Bandora Holdings (Queensland), bought the Smith house when Dorothy Smith passed away from cancer this year.

Jeanette believes the home is as worthy of heritage protection as Laurel Hill. "There are camellias in the gar- den that are 80 years old," she said.

Jeanette, who works in aged care, believes the site design will not meet the needs of elderly people.

She is also concerned about impacts on the rest of the street such as traffic, parking and the sheer volume of extra residents in the planned units.

Dierdre Burnett lives across the road and says the plan is out of character.

Both women have no objection to some kind of retirement living development in the street, just not an intense density one.

Ballina Shire Council group manager of regulatory services, Rod Willis, said there was a chance the development would be assessed at a council meeting on November 24. He said Blair Athol was being assessed by the council's heritage officer.



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