ON ITS WAY: An aerial view of Waterford Park in Goonellabah, taken in July, and which is now being developed. David Nielsen
ON ITS WAY: An aerial view of Waterford Park in Goonellabah, taken in July, and which is now being developed. David Nielsen

Figuring out lack of land

IF YOU are having trouble buying a piece of land in Lismore, it’s because there isn’t much available, according to Lismore real estate agent Paul Deegan.

“We need to do something, we need more land,” he said.

His frustration was vented at a meeting yesterday where 30 business and property people met to discuss the growth of Lismore.

“The council says it wants growth but I’m sick of them patting me on the head and saying it’s all under control,” he said at the Lismore meeting.

Last year there were 41 blocks of land for sale in Lismore, 21 of them new blocks and the rest were resales. In 1994, 390 blocks of land were sold, he said.

“It’s not good enough for people looking for a house to buy, and not good enough for Lismore,” he said.

Independent consulting engineer Tony Riordan explained his interpretation of Lismore City Council’s Urban Development Strategy.

For him the figures of land needed, and vacant land to be released by council, in its urban strategy didn’t add up.

There were numerous constraints affecting whether land was available to develop for houses. Slope, sewerage, bushfire and flood conditions affect what land can actually be used. The biggest constraint to available land was slope, Mr Riordan said.

“Anything with more than a 20 per cent slope is no good according to council,” he said.

Mr Deegan said there was a lot of land zoned residential in Lismore, but the council would say no because it was ‘too steep’.

“The council counts it as available stock, but it can’t be developed,” he said.

He said this skewed council figures on how much land was actually available for residential development.

Lismore Council’s executive director of sustainable environment development, Brent McAlister, agreed that Lismore was limited in choice.

Lismore had eight dwellings per hectare which was low density housing, he said.

Most cities or large towns have 15 dwellings per hectare, so the quality of the way we live in Lismore affects land availability too.

The current land release at Waterford Park in Goonellabah would provide 200 to 300 houses, Mr McAlister said.

At the meeting Mr Riordan talked about an idea to develop outlying areas like Clunes and Bexhill and use the existing rail corridor to service these towns.

He suggested a rail line from Clunes, travelling to Bexhill, Woodlawn and South Lismore as a way of solving traffic problems on Ballina Road.

“We all want to promote the rail,” Mr McAlister said, but for rail to be viable you needed high density development around it.

The council will release a report titled The Outcomes of Urban Land release and Infrastructure Servicing Review next Tuesday.



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