Landfill could cost council $100k
BALLINA Shire Council could be forced to fork out up to $100,000 in legal costs after losing a battle against Lennox Head developer Chris Condon in the Land and Environment Court this week.
In May, Mr Condon applied to move about 100,000 cubic metres of rock and soil leftover from work on the Ballina bypass.
He wanted to move it to a nearby site where he is planning to build a $20 million highway service centre.
But the council’s regulatory services group manager, Rod Willis, said the council was not sure whether the application was classified as a designated development, which would mean it would need an environmental impact statement (EIS).
Mr Condon had not lodged an EIS.
There was also a dispute about whether the development was an ‘extractive industry’.
However Justice Malcolm Craig ruled the works were ‘essentially civil engineering works in preparing the site to receive the material rather than some ongoing process of an industrial character’.
He also said moving the fill and stockpiling it nearby was a ‘relatively benign activity’.
Mr Willis said it was ‘unfortunate’ that the council had to get involved in ‘expensive litigation’.
“The whole aim (of the court case) was to determine the correct process,” he said.
“The unfortunate thing, which warrants a level of criticism, is that the legislation is unclear and so the council had to go through this expensive process.
“We have a responsibility to ensure we determine applications in the right way.”
The council yesterday issued approval for the stockpiling of the fill material.
It is expected to take three to four months to move the 100,000 cubic metres of soil and rock, and cost about $1.2 million.