Michael Balderstone trying to save a few items from the museum after the devastating fire in Cullen street in Nimbin. The fire destroyed The Rainbow cafe, The Nimbin Museum, Tribal Magic and BringaBong shops. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star
Michael Balderstone trying to save a few items from the museum after the devastating fire in Cullen street in Nimbin. The fire destroyed The Rainbow cafe, The Nimbin Museum, Tribal Magic and BringaBong shops. Photo : Mireille Merlet-Shaw/The Northern Star

Developers might scrap plans for beloved Nimbin site

THE developers of the old Nimbin Museum site in Nimbin have signalled their intention to withdraw their DA claiming Lismore City Council was stifling their vision for the project.  

Dr Simon Rose and David Piesse said they felt the council was trying to micromanage their proposal for the site.

"The dream was to create a laneway with small shops through to a lush garden which would have a beautiful timber pavilion so people could sit in all weather and enjoy the view to the Nimbin Rocks," Mr Piesse said.

"Our Cullen Street shops were designed to blend into the streetscape."

He said they had planned to have curvy garden walls and parapets influenced by the thought of the Rainbow Serpent and a moon gate entry from the western car park and another through to adjoining Rainbow Cafe garden.

"The council ... has micromanaged our project to such a degree that we no longer love or want to build it," Mr Piesse said.

"So, we are now at the point of withdrawing our DA and only building shops along Cullen Street and unfortunately the community will lose the laneway access and garden and we lose our dream."

He said they had spent a lot of time with the Nimbin community developing their concept over four years, and believed they had strong community support for the original design.

He said he believed the council did not have the same level of support, and claimed the council had refused to meet with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss the issues.

The council's director of Partnerships, Planning and Engagement, Sharon Harwood, said it was a very significant site in Nimbin in terms of character and heritage values.

"We have worked with the developer and community to ensure that any development protects the village's streetscape that is so important to the community," she said.

"Following the August 2014 fire that engulfed part of the Nimbin Heritage Conservation Area, namely the Rainbow Café and the Nimbin Museum, council initiated a series of design charrettes, plus conducted numerous pre-lodgment meetings that included landowners, consultants and interested parties, for the redevelopment of both sites in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

"The mixed-use redevelopment of the Nimbin Museum site was scheduled to be reported to the February 2020 council meeting with a recommendation for approval subject to conditions.

"However quite unexpectedly, at the request of the landowners, the application was deferred and it is now is proposed to be referred to the April 14, 2020 council meeting."

She said the council had worked constructively with the landowners of the Nimbin Museum site to achieve a redevelopment that was consistent with the design charette, consistent with the heritage character of the Nimbin commercial precinct, and in the public interest of the community.



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