North Lismore Plateau land release
BLOCKS of land at North Lismore Plateau may be developed for sale after Lismore City Council voted to include the area in its Urban Land Release Strategy on Tuesday night.
Cr Graham Meineke, who yesterday made an impassioned plea for councillors to ignore a staff recommendation and open the area to development, hailed the vote as a win for common sense.
“We need land over this side of the CBD,” he said.
“It’s a victory for common sense.
“What it means is that there is a sense of certainty that subject to all the studies and being able to service it, it will go ahead. Up to now it was in the State strategy but not the council strategy so why would the land owners spend any money on the studies?”
Lismore council has come under strong criticism from the local business and property communities over the lack of available land in the area for development.
At a fiery public meeting last November they said council inaction on the issue was threatening the city’s future.
On Tuesday night, Cr Meineke was just as frank.
“Lismore is in a competitive situation with Ballina and Casino,” he said.
“If we want to maintain ourselves as the capital of the Northern Rivers, we have to make some hard decisions.
“There is only one thing holding Lismore back this evening and it’s us.”
Cr Meineke said while Ballina had large parcels of land in the development pipeline, Lismore was lagging significantly behind.
He said once the plateau was included in the council’s strategy, it would still take about six years for the 1500 lots to be released on to the market.
Surveyor and plateau landowner Tony Riordan, who spoke at the meeting in favour of the motion, said yesterday landowners had already commissioned numerous studies and were willing to update them to meet council requirements.
He said if council got behind the site, it could be on the market within a couple of years.
Dismissing council staff opposition to the site’s inclusion in the strategy based on the cost of building infrastructure, Mr Riordan said four respected consultants had previously found the area was the cheapest of all available greenfield sites to service and develop.
He said figures used by council staff also continually overstated available land stock by 65per cent. This was not challenged by council staff at the meeting.
“We need about 400 lots per annum to cater for our existing demand,” Mr Riordan said.
“We need an additional 400 lots per annum to accommodate our allocation of future growth.
“We are currently only achieving 50 lots per annum, and this is coming from existing ‘left-over’ land stock.”
Estate agent Paul Deegan, who organised the November meeting, said including the plateau ‘would be good for the town’ and would help alleviate the land shortage.