'Give us time to respond'
BILAMBIL residents alarmed at plans for a $13.6 million high-density housing estate have called on the New South Wales government to allow the public more time to respond to the proposed development.
About 100 people alarmed that the project would dramatically change the character of their semi-rural village attended a meeting at the village's 100-year-old hall on Saturday to voice their concerns.
The meeting, called by the Bilambil Progress Association, which was reformed last week in response to the development, unanimously voted to ask the New South Wales Department of Planning to extend the period for public submission by a month.
Currently the public has until next Monday to lodge comments about the 52-house estate to be built on the 4.7-hectare site of an old quarry at the corner of Urliup and Hogan roads.
Developer Jackson International is seeking state government approval for the estate, which it says will provide affordable housing on residential blocks between 450 square metres and 800sq m in size.
However, newly elected progress association president Coral Clarke said yesterday people were very concerned that the 52-lot subdivision did not fit in with what was already in Bilambil village.
“Most people are concerned about the size of the development,” she said. “Bilambil is a country village and all of a sudden it's going to be turned into an urban village.”
The association had arranged to meet representatives of Jackson International on Thursday and hoped room could be found for changes to the plans, Ms Clarke said.
A report released by Tweed Shire Council last week revealed Tweed waterways, including the Terranora Broadwater, were already suffering because of problems associated with urban run-off, she said.
“Stormwater from this subdivision would go directly into Bilambil Creek, which is prime platypus habitat,” she said.
Like residents along the Tweed Coast, Bilambil home owners feared an invasion of three-storey buildings crowded on to small areas, she said.
“In a village zoning the building height can be three storeys. Most of these dwellings are going to be two storeys and we think some may be three.
“We just don't think it's going to complement the village at all.
The group was not against development - it was the type of development and the density it was concerned with, Ms Clarke said.
“There are problems too with traffic. Bilambil Road is already very busy and Scenic Drive is pretty full-on too.”
Project manager John Sherwood said last month that the development was an opportunity to improve the former quarry site, which he described as an eyesore that polluted Bilambil Creek.
If the development was approved by the state government, it was hoped blocks would be on the market by the end of the year, he said.