Can Clarence Valley handle "explosion" of infrastructure?
THERE are doubts the Clarence Valley can accommodate an explosion of infrastructure workers coming to the region next year.
Although a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) study shows there are enough rooms available in the area, Clarence Valley Council has doubts the availability of rooms and the influx of workers will occur together.
The council's director environment planning and community Des Schroder said the council had flagged changes to its Local Environment Plan (LEP) to allow the establishment of small scale workers camps.
Mr Schroder said the plan would not allow large, self-contained "mining camps", but encourage smaller developments in residential areas.
"We don't want them in cul-de-sacs, we want them out where there is a major trunk road," he said.
"We want them not too big, without their own kitchens so they have to go into town to buy their food.
Mr Schroder said there was still a big question mark about the need for them.
"But the bottom line is we have some companies saying they do need them," he said.
Mr Schroder said proposed changes to the LEP, which council has put out for exhibition, would allow developments of 100 to 150 people.
"There are blocks of land where you can do that, without having an impact on the neighbours," he said.
He said the LEP amendments would enable these developments to happen if needed.
"It could take us six months and by then it would be too late," he said.
"All this is really going to hit next year. We've already got 500 jobs created in the past month or so with the bridges and the soft works between Glenugie and Tyndale."
Mr Schroder said there were long term benefits for the Valley in handling worker accommodation efficiently.
"Every worker is a potential resident or a potential tourist in the future," he said.
"What better way to learn about a region than to come here to work for a while."