Legal challenge to The Point

By ED SOUTHORN

HASTINGS Point residents have initiated a legal challenge against The Point upmarket resort and aged-care development on the Tweed Coast Road.

The Hastings Point Progress Association's appeal to the NSW Land and Environment Court aims to have Tweed Shire Council approval for the huge complex cancelled.

The association opposes the three-storey maximum height for The Point and believes the project has set an over-development precedent threatening the laid-back lifestyle of Hastings Point.

The association believes the appeal has thrown into doubt the future of The Point a former caravan park site south of the village, previously owned by business identity Alan McIntosh for which some deposits have already been taken from unit buyers.

Association spokesman Gary Thorpe said: "We have not entered into this lightly. It's borne out of years of frustration at being ignored by council."

The appeal relates to the legality of the planning approvals process, alleging that council failed to properly follow relevant NSW government guidelines and its own laws and regulations.

Association member, lawyer John O'Reilly, said it would be a difficult case to win, and grassroots fund-raising was needed to keep the case going.

The association yesterday launched a "savehastingspoint" website, which details the opposition to council's planning strategies for Hastings Point.

A director of The Point, Danny Gillies, whose company PDK has built houses at Pottsville's Seabreeze estate, said he was aware of the appeal but did not believe it would cause any problems for the development.

"We expected some sort of appeal, but we have done absolutely everything by the book," Mr Gillies said.

A council spokesperson said the appeal would be considered when it had all the details.

"The development application was submitted under state government legislation which overrides council's Local Environment Plan and development controls," the spokesperson said.

"The bulk and scale of the development approved is much less than that permitted in the legislation for aged-care complexes containing residential care facilities and hostels. "And the height of the development was in accordance with the three-storey limit which applied to the site.

"Given the zoning of the land permitted residential flat buildings and development to three storeys, there was no legal basis to refuse the development on height."

!DANNY Gillies, a director of The Point development company, is pleased some Hastings Point residents have claimed his upmarket project is being advertised as a luxury resort, rather than an aged-care facility.

He said such claims helped build a positive image for the project as a seniors' resort, unlike conventional aged-care developments, but providing health care as required. Other directors of The Point at a launch on the Coast Road site yesterday agreed that most of the aged-care major components would not be completed until the later stages of the project.

But they said health care would be available from stage one, including a live-in care co-ordinator, Jackie Morgan, currently at The Lodge supported living centre in Upper Coomera.

Mr Gillies said the three-storey maximum height sections of The Point did not directly front the Coast Road, and were concentrated at the rear of the site.

He also said only 30 per cent of the "environmentally beautiful" site would be built on.



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