gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina AN artist impression of facilities at a proposed $41 million development at Empire Vale.
gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina AN artist impression of facilities at a proposed $41 million development at Empire Vale.

Plans for $45M 'play haven' at Ballina withdrawn

PLANS to build a $45 million private 'play haven' at Empire Vale have been withdrawn after a four-year battle to get approval.

The development application for the 219ha property - that included a caravan park, helipad, equestrian facility, shooting range and go kart track - was first lodged in 2016, and faced backlash from neighbours and a battle to for approval.

A letter, dated May 18, was sent to Ballina Shire Council from Brendan Menegazzo announcing the formal withdrawal of the development application by Ringtank Pty Ltd.

Facilities planned for the site were stated to be for private use only, and not for commercial use.

The four packages of land were purchased by the late Angela and Peter Menegazzo between April and September in 2005.

A Ringtank Pty Ltd spokeswoman told The Northern Star, the family have had strong ties to the Ballina Shire.

"The Menegazzo family has a long association with the region and is a proud supporter of the local surf lifesaving club and other community groups in the area," she said.

gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.
gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.

Slated for the site was three houses, a 10-site caravan park, equine facilities including stables, veterinary facility, quarantine stalls, horse float and equipment shelters and two equestrian exercise lawns, private outdoor recreation facilities including go-kart track, shooting range, associated buildings, roadworks, earthworks including dam and landscaping.

In early 2017, town planner Rod Willis said the council had never navigated such a complex, private development application - due to its "non-commercial elements" such as 10 caravan park sites.

gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.
gcb Artist impressions of a development planned by Debra, Brendan and David Menegazzo at South Ballina Artist impression of facilities at a proposed $40 million development at Empire Vale.

On December 23, 2016, $124,130.98 was paid in council fees and levies to process the DA.

Among the 280 documents attached to proposal were more than 50 letters of concern regarding the project.

Some of those concerns related to increased noise from the helicopter, motorsport and shooting activities.

Joseph Goodwin who had lived on Empire Vale Rd in South Ballina for more than 43 years, claimed his house was 900m from the proposed helipad.

Mr Goodwin said the helicopter activity coupled with the other recreational facilities, such as the proposed go-kart track, don't fit the South Ballina lifestyle.

"These activities are not welcome in a quiet rural setting," Mr Goodwin said.

Another resident said the activities were "inconsistent and incompatible with a rural agricultural area".

Residents also raised concerns about the impact of increased traffic on rural roads, the closure of a beach access road, and the possible overflow effect from a 18 megalitre dam.

The Joint Regional Planning Panel heard submissions from the community on the private development in 2018, but the matter was returned to Ballina Shire Council for more information.

A number of amendments were made to the DA, but it was withdrawn in May this year.

Ringtank has been contacted for comment.



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