Concept design of the Surf and Yoga Resort planned for development in Iluka.
Concept design of the Surf and Yoga Resort planned for development in Iluka. Surf&Yoga P/L

$10 million resort set to dominate village business entrance

THE ENTRANCE to Iluka's business district is likely to be dominated by a $10 million, 40-bed surf and yoga resort after a Clarence Valley Council committee recommended approval.

The council's environment, planning and community committee approved the development, although councillors quizzed developer Derk Vanderbent extensively after he made a deputation to the committee meeting.

In his deputation, Mr Vanderbent said the development has "almost 100 per cent support" from local business.

"Local businesses are keen to see employment in the area and extra tourists," he said.

"Locals don't need to fear we don't have the interests of Iluka at heart.

"We're here because of the same reasons everybody else is there: we understand the unique attributes of a small village atmosphere.

"A 40-room motel is not going to make a dent into that atmosphere."

Should the full council meeting next week approve the development, construction will go ahead on the site of a disused petrol station, which has been derelict for the past 14 years.

Mr Vanderbent described the process of removing the underground tanks, which had rendered the site un-usable.

During questions Cr Peter Ellem asked the developer how he arrived at the "almost 100 per cent support" figure.

"We've been around the community for around 12 months talking to people and been invited to a couple of functions," he said. "Generally everybody has been in support of it."

"We've had an objection, I think about visibility from the adjoining motel.

"I don't think that's a major issue. I think regardless of who builds on that site, you're going to get a similar construction."

Cr Greg Clancy was concerned the council staff had been too lenient in allowing the building roof height to exceed allowed limits.

"We see a lot of this in our meetings where building designs exceed the DCP specification," he said.

"Was it not possible to get a design that fell within the design envelope?"

Mr Vanderbent said it was possible, but the design had to cope with a feature of the landscape, a hollow on the back corner of the site, which challenged the DCP.

"That little dip basically throws that part of the building height over and above the 1.5m.

"We have tried to keep the roofline on the building level.

"You could re-design your roof to follow the dip, but a don't that's practical."

Cr Clancy also quizzed the developer about the clearing of the site before the DA had been submitted.

"It was a bit of a toss up about which way to go with this," Mr Vanderbent said.

"We could still be sitting there with the site exactly the way it was and waited till we got council approval for the whole project.

"We thought it was worth getting a bit of a time line going so we could recycle some of these buildings.

"If we had waited until we got our final OK, it would have been a mass demolition, knock the whole thing down cart it away and dumped.

"We took the view if we take this one step at a time - and the site had to be cleared first of all to get the tanks out of the ground - ... the sooner we could have the site ready."

The committee voted 4-1 to recommend approval of the development, with variations allowed to the height limit of 10.9m and a shortfall of two parking spaces as required in the DCP.