PROGRESS: A surge in development in Lismore and Ballina brings good news.
PROGRESS: A surge in development in Lismore and Ballina brings good news. Jay Cronan

$200m worth of developments expected in Lismore

BALLINA and Lismore are in the midst of a building boom and on track to have their biggest years of development since the global financial crisis hit in 2008.

In the first quarter of the current 2016-17 financial year Lismore City Council approved development applications worth almost $50 million - a full 70% of the total value of the previous 12 months.

At that rate Lismore can expect to rack up at least $150-$200 million worth of approved developments by financial year's end.

Ballina, meanwhile, clocked up almost $42 million of development approvals by the end of September and by the end of last month had hit the $70 million mark - already half of its massive 2015-16 total of $140 million.

A surge in housing development is the growth engine in Ballina with more than 70% of the value of approvals coming from residential projects.

"This year is very strong," Ballina Shire Council town planner Rod Willis said.

"Within Ballina Shire a number of new residential development estates have been released and housing has been built immediately in those. We also have some retirement villages developing."

Mr Willis said the recovery from the GFC had been gaining momentum after several slow years when development enquiries fell off a ditch and remained tepid for several years.

Several large development applications have been lodged for new housing estates, including Epiq at Lennox Head, new releases in the Ballina Heights estate, and a major application for the Cumbalum urban release area which forms a new extension of Ballina Heights.

Mr Willis said developers were paying attention to the residential construction upswing and moving quickly to subdivide new estates.

The council has since rebuilt staff numbers to cope and are employing casuals to help meet the resurgent application numbers.

Over in Lismore, commercial development is worth a bigger piece of the total development pie.

Lismore City Council development and compliance manager Peter Jeuken said several major developments under construction were proof commercial confidence in the city was growing.

These include the new office building on Molesworth St, the new Toyota dealership in South Lismore, and plans for a Quest serviced apartment building.

Several residential land releases are also providing a steady flow development applications for town planners, including Waterford Park, Invercauld Road, Perradenya and Holland Street,

"We have a consistent stream of enquiries about developing in Lismore - there is strong interest the like of which we haven't seen in many years," Mr Jeuken said.

"This trend is really encouraging... boosting Lismore's population is increasing the city's prosperity as a whole and cementing our place as a regional centre."

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