THE closed entrance to the Iron Gates subdivision.
THE closed entrance to the Iron Gates subdivision.

Activist vows to stop new bid at controversial development

ACTIVIST Al Oshlack has vowed a proposed development at Iron Gates at Evans Head will not go ahead.

Mr Oshlack was the applicant in a landmark Land and Environment Court case in 1997 where the judge found breaches to the development consent were so serious that consent was revoked and the developers were ordered to carry out a full restoration.

Mr Oshlack claims the developer Graeme Ingles and his company Iron Gates Pty Ltd never complied with the court orders and left owing hundreds of thousands of dollars, including Mr Oshlack's court costs.

"There is no way while I'm breathing oxygen that I'm going to let this developer go ahead in any form," Mr Oshlack said.

"I'll scrutinise the DA and there will be flaws, and we will be taking it to court. And we will blockade the development as we did before."

Richmond Valley Council announced this week that they had received a DA for 178 residential lots, three public reserves, two fire trails and three residue lots at the Iron Gates site.

Council's general manager John Walker said that as the development had a value of more than $10 million, it had been referred to the Joint Regional Planning Panel for determination.

The panel is appointed by the NSW Government and councils to provide independent, merit-based decisions and advice to the minister on regionally-significant developments.

The DA had been submitted by Gold Coral Pty Ltd, which is associated with Mr Ingles and the Ingles Group.

Mr Walker said the history of the site and council's $1 million court battle with Mr Ingles was "not relevant" and that the DA would be assessed on its merits.

"Since 2012 the area has been zoned residential. (This DA) is for a much smaller parcel of land than the 1990s and there are environmental zones over much of that land. Any court orders that have relevance will be determined by the law," Mr Walker said.

One of the court orders was that the access road not be used for any future development.

A report to Richmond Valley Council in July said: "It is anticipated that if new development consent for residential development were granted, as well as consent for deviations in the alignment of the access road, the court could be approached to have the orders revisited with a view to having them removed or substantially amended."

Mr Ingles did not wish to comment.

Evans Head Chamber of Commerce president and LJ Hooker principal Brian O'Farrell said the development would be a boon for Evans Head if it went ahead.

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