Village another step closer
By HANNAH ROSS
Council endorses Evans aerodrome management plan
THE Evans Head aerodrome is a step closer to becoming the site of a $30 million retirement village following a decision yesterday by the NSW Heritage Council.
The council met in Sydney to endorse a plan of management that allows development on a portion of the site, which is on the State Heritage Register.
As part of its endorsement, the council said aviation use was vital in maintaining the heritage values and significance of the aerodrome site.
Heritage council chair Michael Collins said an agreement that promoted aviation activities would now have to be negotiated with Richmond Valley Council.
Richmond Valley mayor Charlie Cox said he could not comment on the heritage council's decision until he had assessed the conditions.
Paul Morris, chief executive officer of the Ballina Ex-Services Home which hopes to develop the retirement village, also greeted the news cautiously.
"In light of all the troubles we have had in getting to this point, this news is definitely positive, but I think I will save the champagne for the opening ceremony," Mr Morris said.
If Richmond Valley Council agrees to the heritage council's conditions, Mr Morris said a development application for the retirement village could be lodged within a month.
The Ballina Ex-Services Home plans for the facility include a 100-bed hostel and nursing home and 101 two-bedroom retirement units.
Mr Morris said the village would employ 100 people and inject as much as $5 million into the Evans Head economy each year.
Frank McKey, vice-chairman of the board of the Ballina Ex-Services Home, said 200 applications had already been received for retirement accommodation at Evans Head.
"Evans Head has the highest concentration of aged people in the region," Mr McKey said.
"It was a natural choice for the project." The Northern Star was yesterday unable to contact Richard Gates, president of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee. Mr Gates has said previously the retirement village would spell the end of aviation at the aerodrome.
Mr McKey said after failed attempts to locate the village on Crown Land and private property, the aerodrome was the only remain- ing site at Evans Head.
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