APPROVAL for the building of a retirement village only 90m from the end of the nearest runway has ignored advice from aviation experts who flew into Evans Head especially for the meeting, according to one opponent of the development.
The Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel's approval of the RSL Lifecare development of Evans Head's retirement village was a farce, Margaret Howes of Empire Vale wrote to The Rivertown Times.
"The aviation community may as well have saved its breath in an attempt to save the aerodrome from inappropriate and conflicting development," she said.
"The various aviation representative bodies came great distances to make a deputation against building a nursing home on an aerodrome."
The aviator herself said delegates from the Warbirds Association of Australia drove in from Toowoomba, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association flew in from Sydney, and Recreational Aviation Australia flew in from Canberra.
"Concerns by the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee and the NSW Heritage Office were wafted aside," she said.
Chair of the northern regional panel, Garry West, said the development application and assessment report was reviewed by the panel and agreed that all objectives of all applicable environmental planning instruments and other legislation were met.
"The panel considers that the heritage significance of the site, which was used as a World War II aerodrome, is not diminished by the proposed development," he said.
"The issues of closeness (of the runway to the development) would have been dealt with when council did the rezoning of the land to residential.
"The proposed development would greatly benefit the local community by providing much needed aged care facilities for the local population."
Other issues raised at the meeting included the approval of a childcare centre for 40 placements and the doubling up of facilities for the town when businesses could benefit from the development.
Proposed development includes:
Aged care facility with 121 single bedroom apartments
41 x one bedroom serviced apartments
145 x two bedroom independent living units
Community building with licensed cafe/bistro
Child care centre for maximum 40 children
Swimming pool and other ancillary facilities
Subdivision for 24 residential lots