Byron aged care facility to double

AN aged care facility in Suffolk Park will double in size after a decision by the panel responsible for considering large-scale developments on the Northern Rivers.

Late last week the Northern Region Planning Panel gave conditional approval to Bayside @ Byron to expand its facilities, at an expected cost of almost $20 million.

Since the middle of last year the planning panel, rather than the region’s local councils, has been responsible for determining development applications with a capital investment of more than $10 million.

The three-member panel, which included former Byron Shire Council general manager Pamela Westing, took less than half-an-hour to unanimously approve the development application after previous lengthy meetings on the issue. Ms Westing said the development application was a good example of the competing public policy objectives often involved in major developments. In this case, the panel had to balance the demand for aged care services with a possible flood risk resulting from the development.

Bayside @ Byron will use floodprone undeveloped land it owns to the south of its site on Broken Head Road for the expansion.

Fellow panel member Garry West also acknowledged there were competing interests that had to be balanced.

“It’s not a perfect solution, but it is a way forward,” he said.

The conditions tied to the approval relate to design and construction of the aged care extension. The conditions will help manage storm water away from neighbouring residents.

Mark Owens, engaged by RSL LifeCare to manage the project, said it would need to meet strict standards.

“Any development we do can have absolutely no impact on adjoining properties,” he said.

Concerned about the flood impact of the aged care facility’s extension, Andrew Bowling, whose property borders the site, brought photographs to last week’s meeting to show how his property flooded in heavy rain.

“It already floods now, so how much worse is it going to get?” he said.

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