Photomontage of the proposed development from the public car park to the south of the site.
Photomontage of the proposed development from the public car park to the south of the site. Contributed

‘Eco-friendly’ Nimbin motel proposal could become “a ghetto”

CRITICS of a proposed development on Nimbin's Cullen St say the $1.5 million, 32 motel units planned for 80-82 Cullen St are an attempt to "cash in" on the town's image.

But local voices in support argue "The Cubes" development will boost and broaden Nimbin's tourism appeal with more appealing overnight accommodation for the town.

Lismore City Council are set to discuss the fate of the development application next Tuesday night, with council staff recommending a decision be deferred because the proposal needs major revisions.

The council has received 22 public submissions against the development, and nine in favour.

Current plans for site feature four two-storey modular 'pods', each with eight single-bedroom units.

More than one submission argued the development would compromise Nimbin's character.

"It seems to me that the proposed "Cubes Accommodation" development may be an attempt to cash in on Nimbin's unique attractiveness whilst very likely driving a nail into the coffin of the Nimbin so many of us here and all around the world know and love," local Tim Dowsett wrote.

Lillian Rock resident Scott Sledge said he was concerned the high density facility would "attract paedophiles and perhaps purveyors of synthetic drugs" given its proximity to Nimbin Central School and the small size of the rooms.

Builder Samuel Herren argued the motel could "devolved into a ghetto" over time and "$90 is cheap for a dealer seeking a safe private space for the day".

Other critics raised concerns about the impact on surrounding accommodation businesses, the height of the two-storey units, impacts on privacy and the visual amenity and consistency of Cullen St.

Some critics said there simply wasn't the consistent demand for such accommodation in Nimbin outside of Christmas and the Mardi Grass Festival.

However, not everyone on Nimbin is against the idea of better, more upscale accommodation in the village.

Nimbin Bakery owner Darren Butcher argued the motel could "attract a different overnight accommodation crowd which would benefit Nimbin economically and socially".

Artist and gallery owner Roslyn Fairbairn said the motel would "have a positive effect on the youth who live in Nimbin ,create employment, and encourage older visitors to the area".

Council staff have raised several issues - most notable the lack of onsite parking - and have recommended the DA be significantly revised, including reducing the number of units from 32 to 24.



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