Council scrutinises play haven road plans
EXTENSIVE road ways to interconnect a beef baron family's proposed $41 million private play haven in South Ballina have come under scrutiny by Ballina Shire Council.
Some of the roads are marked approved while others are proposed on the Menegazzo family's development application, lodged under Ringtank Pty Ltd in late December.
The council's town planner Rod Willis said when the application was drafted it may have relied on previous approvals issues by the land and environment court that sited various housing sites, driveways and tracks.
But Mr Willis said council consideration is still required for certain roads despite being classified as approved.
For example, the map contained in the DA's ecological assessment report claims an extension of Empire Vale Rd running west outside the private land between Lots 118 and 119 is approved.
However, Mr Willis said the "approved road" is on public land.
"The public road being the extension of Empire Vale road appears to be proposed to have the practical public 4WD access closed by the application," Mr Willis said.
"This also hasn't been considered to date. This land is public owned land that is not owned by Ringtank and hence any proposal over it has to be considered in that light."
Since the road runs outside private property, Mr Willis said the question of maintenance responsibility will need to be explored.
"Ringtank would only have a maintenance responsibility on public land if the public authorities approve it. I don't know whether or not Ringtank are proposing to acquire any public land as we haven't as yet begun to assess the application in detail. We are still ensuring that the application is complete before placing it on public exhibition."
One of the largest proposed roads in the report will run 4km parallel to the coast.
While Mr Willis said "the internal 'road' along the beach-front boundary may be associated with boundary fencing and a practical land management asset," the coastal heath must be assessed with close detail.
"There are environmental sensitivities right along the beach-front and whether or not this proposed private road proposal warrants consent will need to be assessed in detail," Mr Willis said.
"We haven't commenced any detailed assessment yet and the application hasn't been placed on public exhibition yet."
One long-time Ballina local will be keeping a close eye on the progress on what he calls "the over development of land."
Denis Magnay hopes the private complex won't impact on public access to the beach via 4WD tracks.
He said the blocked-off 4WD track at the southern end of the property highlighted in the DA has been closed for years.
Although, Mr Magnay holds concerns for tracks in the north and south that are very close to Ringtank's boundaries.
He said "they wouldn't want to dare close" any of the tracks on the boundary line.
Over the years, Mr Magnay said he and other locals have fought battles previously about keeping 4WD tracks open for public access.
"If they over use their strength and power to make it hard for us , they're going to cop some opposition," Mr Magnay said.
"We can only wait until council put it out on exhibition."