MAINTAIN THE BUFFER: Wollongbar Progress Association president Ron Birch wants to see the buffer between Alstonville and Wollongbar maintained into the future, and a community survey backs that stance.
MAINTAIN THE BUFFER: Wollongbar Progress Association president Ron Birch wants to see the buffer between Alstonville and Wollongbar maintained into the future, and a community survey backs that stance. Graham Broadhead

Residents support buffer zone for village

WHILE the Wollongbar Progress Association is keen to see the rural buffer between the village and Alstonville remain into the future, it seems the community agrees.

In response to a survey conducted last year as part of the preparation of Ballina Shire Council's Draft Wollongbar Strategic Plan 2038, which was released last week, there were 298 respondents from Wollongbar, with nearly 90% supporting the buffer zone.

President of the progress association, Ron Birch, said the buffer zone was a "genuine issue" with people in Wollongbar.

When the estate was developed in the 1980s, the buffer zone was set between Wollongbar and Alstonville.

Mr Birch said it was the semi-rural nature of the village, created by that space, which was attractive to those who live there, and those who are moving in.

"A lot of people like the village setting," he said.

"The big thing is protecting against urban sprawl."

He also noted the buffer zone was made up of prime agricultural land.

"And once that's gone, it's gone," he said.

He said there was plenty of land available for further expansion around Wollongbar through to 2038 without incursions into the buffer zone, though there are landholders keen to develop land in the buffer zone to provide housing for a growing population.

There have been attempts at developing land in the buffer zone before, and the progress association has fought against them.

Mr Birch said he was "gobsmacked" by the number of survey responses which came from Wollongbar, but said the progress association had worked hard to promote the online survey.

It is not sure when the draft strategic plan will go to Ballina Shire Council.

Meanwhile, the progress association is holding a meeting tonight at the Wollongbar hall from 7pm to discuss the issue.



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