The Beach House East Coast at East Ballina.
The Beach House East Coast at East Ballina. Marc Stapelberg

Work began on beach venue without council approval

THE fate of a North Coast venue that began a revamp without council approval will likely be decided this week.

Ballina Shire Council will consider two development applications for The Beach House East Coast at Wednesday's meeting.

Owners of the Shelly Beach Rd, East Ballina venue, formally known as Dunes on Shelly Beach, had expected to reopen last November, but the council took them to the Land and Environment Court after they began work without approvals.

The two DAs relate to changes and additions to a conference centre, accommodations, a caretaker's dwelling and reconfiguration of the car parking layout at the site.

According to a council staff report, the DAs attracted 46 submissions between them, including 11 supportive submissions and 35 objections.

Support for the proposals related to the potential in economic benefits for the local economy, while objections included concerns about car parking, noise impacts and Aboriginal cultural heritage impacts.

In relation to the latter, some submissions raised that the land is part of a gazetted Aboriginal Place.

With one of the DAs, an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Impact Report found the proposed changes "will not likely impact on Aboriginal objects of moderate to high conservation value".

The owners also proposed "appropriate signage on-site at any point where guests can enter the nearby council reserves and adjoining walkways that might support ... interpretation of the Aboriginal Place".

They have suggested providing guidelines to ensure guests "behave in due respect of the land, ecosystems and Aboriginal cultural heritage values".

The council's staff have recommended councillors approve both development applications, subject to conditions and formally withdraw the Land and Environment Court proceedings, subject to confirmation from their solicitor.

Mayor David Wright said the site had a "very long and complicated history".

Cr Wright said while there were issues with the manner in which works began on the revamp, he believed the changes would likely have been approved ordinarily.

"The way they did it was not right, but it appears most of the work would have been allowed anyway," Cr Wright said.

"I think on balance what's been done now is in keeping (with the area)."

Councillors will meet from 9am today.