STILL WAITING: Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone is disappointed that the DA has not yet been granted for the old museum and Rainbow Cafe site.
STILL WAITING: Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone is disappointed that the DA has not yet been granted for the old museum and Rainbow Cafe site. Marc Stapelberg

Town 'lost a big part of its heart' with destructive fire

FIVE years on from the fire that destroyed Nimbin's museum and the history it held, there's little other than a small mulberry tree where a community hub once stood.

The Cullen St sites that were once home to the museum and Rainbow Cafe have stood vacant since they were burnt on August 14, 2014, but a development application to change that was lodged in February.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said he felt the proposed $2.4 million mixed-use revamp of the site, including retail shops, food and drink premises, a medical centre and outdoor communal spaces, was not being given due merit by Lismore City Council.

Mr Balderstone said while there had been some opposition to the plans, he felt the proposal would benefit the community. Submissions to the council have raised concerns over car parking, disability access and the impact on Nimbin's village identity.

But Mr Balderstone said Nimbin lost a "real hub for people to gather" in the 2014 fire and he felt an investment in the site could help to fill the void.

"The community lost a big part of its heart," he said.

He said some were "frustrated" by a perceived lack of council support for the proposed development.

The council's manager for development and compliance, Peter Jeuken, said it was working with the developer.

"The proposed shortfall in car parking to serve the development and making sure that the heritage design is appropriate for the locality are the issues currently being resolved," Mr Jeuken said.

He said they'd "listened to regular feedback" from the community over those "important development assessment issues".

"We want to make sure the proposed building properly addresses those village planning controls as it will be a significant part of the streetscape in Nimbin for many years to come," he said.



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