Ex-services Home revamp stirs unrest
WHAT was established as a rest home for war veterans is currently not giving any rest to neighbouring residents.
The locals are gearing up to oppose a development application lodged with Ballina Shire Council to revamp the Ballina Ex-Services Home, a move which the neighbours say will cause problems by taking away car parks and possibly reduce access in Owen Street.
The sticking point is the proposal to reduce current on-site car parking spaces from 27 to 12, and the proposal to landscape the section of Owen Street from Hackett Lane to the northern end of the street at North Creek.
Ray Fox, who lives in Fox Street near the popular Meldrum Park, said car parking was already at a premium and any loss of on-site space at the nursing home would mean more traffic and less car parking in the surrounding streets, particularly at the park.
He said a lack of parking for staff and residents of the nursing home had been an issue since the mid-1990s, when the administration offices were built in Bentinck Street.
Denis Magnay, president of Water Access To Encourage Recreation (WATER), is ready to put on the gloves for a second time to save Owen Street.
He said it wasn't clear from the plans before Ballina Shire Council what the intention was for the end of the street near North Creek, but it looked like on-road parking was going to be at risk.
“What we see we don't like,” he said.
Mr Magnay said many people, particularly older people, enjoyed fishing in North Creek, and Owen Street allowed them to park their cars close to the water so they didn't have to walk far with their fishing tackle.
About 10 years ago he was part of a campaign to save Owen Street when the Ex-Services Home unsuccessfully lodged a DA to expand.
The current proposal includes the demolition of the Remembrance Wing on Owen Street and construction of 22 two-bedroom serviced care apartments in a two-storey building with eight single garages.
Ardell Payne and Partners completed a traffic assessment on behalf of the owners of the nursing home, RSL Life Care.
They reported the proposed development would 'only slightly increase the number of daily and peak-hourly trips generated by the site' and that 'sufficient parking is provided on-site in accordance with the requirements of the Seniors Living SEPP to cater for the proposed new development'.
Submissions on the DA close tomorrow.