Mystery letter slams 'eyesore' development plans
MYSTERY surrounds the authorship of a letter, dropped into letterboxes around parts of Bangalow, urging residents to oppose a new development proposed for the town.
The development on Pioneer Avenue, adjacent to the cemetery in Bangalow, would include a brewery, garden centre/restaurant, micro-distillery, childcare centre, swimming pool, hydra therapy pool and gym as well as a depot facility.
Signed by "The residents of Bangalow" the letter was delivered in the early hours of Monday morning.
The letter claims the proposed new development will be, "an eyesore visible from the Pacific Highway, residential areas on Rankin Drive, Pioneers Crescent and Blackwood Crescent."
The letter goes on to allege "this is a non-small scale over-development that will prove a significant issue for residential suburbs due to its propensity to generate noise from tourism, adverse effects due to the smell of malt drifting from the brewery, waste and water impacts...traffic impacts...and as a consequence will detract from wildlife visitation to the area...."
The owner/developer, Lewis Haigh and his partner have been residents of Bangalow for the past eight years and are dismayed at the circulation of the letter.
"This has been an incredibly healing place for us," Mr Haigh said.
"We would really like to do something with the land that enhances the village of Bangalow."
The 100 acre property stretches from the Bangalow cemetery to the creek behind the sports oval and between the new M1 and Hinterland Way.
"It doesn't really matter who wrote the letter but it is exasperating that they have got so many facts wrong," Mr Haigh said.
"The original DA, that included a koala hospital, we withdrew ourselves after conversations with the council and local interest groups including sporting clubs.
"We have continued those informal discussions with the community and council to come up with additional inclusions in the development."
The development includes a restaurant/garden centre with alfresco dining and outdoor bar, agricultural building/micro-distillery and a brewery and tasting room.
Plans indicate there are 41 parking spaces allocated for the brewery and 12 spaces allocated for the Garden Centre/Restaurant.
"In our conversations with local groups we learned that the community has been waiting for some considerable time for a swimming pool and that child care was an issue in the area so these have been included in the plan and will be paid for by us.
"We also learned that there is no hydra-therapy pool available in the area so this was included along with a gym."
Mr Haigh said the plans would also include space for community garden.
As to access, which currently goes through the Bangalow cemetery, Mr Haigh said a new entrance off Hinterland Way would be completed and the current cemetery entrance would be closed off, accessible as a fire/emergency trail. A depot facility will also be constructed adjacent to the new bottom entrance.
"We also are close to the railway corridor so we are hoping that whatever we do can integrate with the rail trail should it come to fruition," he said.
"There is also capacity to minimise the visual impact of the buildings involved in the development and after conversation with local sustainable energy groups we would be fully integrating solar power on the property."
Linda Sparrow, President of Bangalow Koalas was also in the dark about who distributed the letter but remains opposed to the development saying:
"Bangalow Koalas is still opposed for the very same reason before with all the extra traffic on Hinterland Way in a known koala kill hotspot," she said.
"This is especially so given in the DA it states access to the depot 24 hours a day by trucks.
"Mix that with a brewery, bar, restaurant and all that extra car traffic, its a recipe for disaster for our koalas.
"In the last year 5 koalas were killed as a result of car strikes right along this section of Hinterland Way."
Residents have until August 7 to comment on the development to Byron Shire Council.