Council keen on development
RICHMOND Valley Council has confirmed staff have met with representatives from the Ingles Group about the possible development of the Iron Gates site west of Evans Head.
Water under bridge
In a report to council, prepared by executive manager of Infrastructure and Environment, Gary Murphy, it seems the $1 million council spent fighting Graeme Ingles and his company Iron Gates Pty Ltd in court is now water under the bridge and the council is keen to facilitate future residential development at the site.
"Council's attitude (is) to look forward rather than dwelling on events of the past. As such, council will treat the Ingles Group to the same courteous and professional service that it offers any other business willing to invest in this community. Any application for development will be assessed on its merits," the report said.
A development for up to 700 houses was stopped in 1997 by the Land and Environment Court because breaches to consent were deemed so serious, the court ruled consent be declared null and void and made orders to remediate the site.
Shortly after Iron Gates Pty Ltd went into receivership and remains so today.
Any future development would have to comply with those court orders, which are outlined in the report to council.
However, the report also suggests the court may remove or amend some of the conditions.
"There are also orders over the access road preventing it from being used to access any development at Iron Gates. The remainder of the property is free of orders and open to be developed in accordance with the applicable zoning under the LEP. All orders still apply," the report said.
"It is anticipated that if new development consent for residential development were granted, as well as consent for deviations in the alignment of the access road, the court could be approached to have the orders revisited with a view to having them removed or substantially amended."
The 2012 LEP rezoned much of the Iron Gates land, with about 18 hectares still zoned as R1 General Residential, with the remainder of the 100ha site zoned for Primary Production (RU1), Environmental Conservation (E2) and Environmental Management (E3).
General manager John Walker has indicated the R1 area could accommodate 170-180 houses.
The report indicates communication with the Ingles Group is ongoing.
Graeme Ingles was contacted to discuss any future plans for the site, but he did not return calls.
The Office of Environment and Heritage said it has been onsite where alleged illegal logging took place at Iron Gates several weeks ago. They have interviewed several people in relation to the land clearing and say "the investigation is continuing".