LEGAL CHALLENGE WON: This file photo from May 2014 shows Michael Ryan (left) and Burrell Jakamarra at a smoking ceremony in North Lismore to mark opposition to the North Lismore plateau development.
LEGAL CHALLENGE WON: This file photo from May 2014 shows Michael Ryan (left) and Burrell Jakamarra at a smoking ceremony in North Lismore to mark opposition to the North Lismore plateau development. Cathy Adams

Back to the drawing board for North Lismore development

PLANS to build the North Lismore Plateau housing development have been put on hold after a Bundjalung Aboriginal elder successfully had the area's rezoning declared invalid.

Michael Ryan has won a bid in the Land and Environment Court to have the Lismore City council's removal of environmental zones to protect the plateau quashed.

The 255ha development involves the construction of 1550 new homes to cater for more than 3600 residents.

Mr Ryan also named former NSW Planning Minister Pru Goward in the case over her approval of the faulty environmental plan

He argued the removal of environmental zones, which contain significant indigenous heritage sites and threatened animal and plant species, was done without proper community consultation.

Justice Terry Sheahan yesterday declared the rezoning invalid and ordered Ms Goward to cover all of Mr Ryan's legal costs.

He ordered the removal of environmental zones from the area constituted a major change to the planning regime, and should not have been done without proper community consultation.

The council will now prepare a report "with a view to re-completing any necessary steps and addressing the relative administrative issues without delay".

Mayor Jenny Dowell was adamant the North Lismore Plateau development would still go ahead despite being faced with a new legal roadblock.

"The North Lismore Plateau development has been in the making for 15 years and is essential for Lismore's future growth and prosperity," Cr Dowell said.

"This is a major development that includes 1300 residential lots and 1550 new dwellings - we are talking about providing a huge boost to our workforce and the CBD, creating affordable housing opportunities and jobs."

The council's development and compliance manager Peter Jeuken blamed the NSW Government for the error.

"NSW councils must be able to rely upon advice from the NSW Government, and in this instance we were advised by the NSW Department of Planning that Council had fulfilled all of its requirements, and that Parliamentary Counsel had reviewed the (local environmental plan) amendment, concluding it could be legally made with the full knowledge the (environment) zones had been removed," Mr Jeuken said.

"Despite following all of the advice from the NSW Department of Planning including the relevant checks and balances, and their processes arising from the review of (environmental) zones on the Far North Coast, council feels it has been let down as a result of this judgement."



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