Tempers flare on rezoning

EMOTIONS continue to flare in Kyogle over a proposal to rezone agricultural land in a hazardous flood zone as 'industrial'.

In Friday's Northern Star Kyogle Council's senior town planner John Hession said the council had received 320 submissions supporting the rezoning in south Kyogle.

However, Mr Hession has since said 287 of the submissions were pro-forma letters submitted by the developer, Richard Vary.

According to residents, Mr Vary collected signatures by door knocking and leaving copies of the letter in businesses.

Mr Hession said the pro-forma letters would be given equal weight to handwritten submissions when the council made its recommendation to the Department of Planning.

Mr Hession refused to comment on whether the developer could have withheld letters not supporting the development.

Kay McGrath, of Kyogle, is against the proposal and said ratepayers were right to feel emotional about a decision that would leave Kyogle with an ugly and dangerous legacy.

“We who oppose it are being called radicals, greenies and hotheads,” Mrs McGrath said.

“We are not against industry. We are just against the location of this proposed development.”

Kyogle motel manager Mike Donnelly, who was unaware the majority of submissions had been pro-forma letters, said he was sceptical that more than 300 people were motivated to write letters of support.

“I have lived in Kyogle for 10 years and I have never seen 300 people here do anything. The figures are hard to believe,” he said.

Kyogle Flood Plain Management Committee member Joe McErlean said the pro-forma letters presented to council by the developer were a joke.

“It's a petition, not a submission,” Mr McErlean said. “I could have got 500 signatures opposing the development. The council seems intent on this happening.”

Mr McErlean said a group of concerned residents would take the matter to the Land and Environment Court if it was approved.

The Northern Star has been unable to contact Mr Vary.

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