Mt Burrell ‘Intentional Community’ slapped with legal threat
TWEED Shire Council will take legal action against the Bhula Bhula Intentional community at Mt Burrell following discovery of alleged unauthorised development works at the site.
Councillors decided by a unanimous vote at Thursday’s planning meeting to engage lawyers to pursue the matter after a site inspection on February 22 revealed alleged unauthorised building and earthworks, vegetation removal and land use activity undertaken at the property at 3222 Kyogle Rd.
It is claimed that photo evidence collected by council officers showed a yurt built as a spiritual centre, pole house foundations, earthworks for a house pad, excessive works for a road upgrade, clearing for a donga, milled trees, and a farm shed, all without approval.
Bhula Bhula, meaning “harmony”, advertised two lots on 284ha south of Khungur as offering communal living through the purchase of units under a trustee, led by a director and steering committee.
In online marketing material, the group claims to “absolutely not” be “some kind of cult”, but is instead a non-sectarian group following principles of “do no harm”, “respect the earth” and “love your fellow man and woman”.
The council inspected the property after several nearby residents complained about alleged unauthorised works at the site from mid-2015.
Wollumbin Horizons Pty Ltd confirmed to council staff it was planning a multiple occupancy, but claimed it was only “minor works”, with a development application for 36 units expected to be lodged.
Council’s planning director, Vince Connell, said despite many opportunities, the owners had not provided adequate explanation.
“Taking into account the current uncertainty regarding the collective view and support of all unit owners of Wollumbin Horizons and their solicitor ... it is considered there is an urgent imperative to establish a clear legal path for council to proceed in their dealings with the owners,” he said.
The Bhula Bhula Intentional Community has been contacted for comment.