Residents claim victory in boarding house fight

By NERIDA BLOK, Lismore City Reporter

GIRARDS HILL residents Lee and Allan Barkas are celebrating what they believe is a small victory for their neighbourhood.

The pair said they were delighted to hear Lismore City Council this week knocked back a development application (DA) which sought to build a 12-room boarding house on land at 79 Esmonde Street, Girards Hill.

The DA was lodged by Doug Foskey and Brigette Rouesnel, of Lismore.

"We think we have won round one," Lee Barkas said.

She said more than 20 residents in her area had objected to the proposed development, believing it would bring increased traffic, a reduction in privacy and 'basically high-density living just doesn't fit in this area'.

Despite their win, Lee said their fight was not over.

She said the landowner had asbestos removed from the existing shed without following proper procedures and safety precautions.

"Asbestos is still sitting there. Nothing has been done," she said.

"It is a health hazard."

Town planner Victor Holmes, of Victor Holmes Town Planning, acting on behalf of the landowners, said he was disappointed in the council's decision.

"Particularly since council had acknowledged to my client there was a need for a development of that nature in Lismore," he said.

Mr Holmes said 'the means by which council determined the refusal is a bone of contention, however, they have explained their reasoning, which is merely a course for re-submission'.

"We are definitely planning a review, and will possibly amend the design where required," he said.

Regarding the asbestos, Mr Holmes said there was sheeting from the shed which was removed by a licensed contractor, 'but it was removed as general maintenance which is legal work'.

"My client employed that contractor to do the work in all good faith. Apparently it wasn't deemed to be properly done and testing is already commissioned to clean up the site to the way it was asked in the first place."

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