Votes split at Bega Valley Shire Council on Tura Beach rezoning

A council vote, split mainly along the lines of the north and south of the shire, saw the mayor use his casting vote to keep the rural residential status of Lots 33 and 34 DP 243029 located at the entrance of Tura Beach Drive, opposite the Woolworths supermarket complex.

Behind what appeared to be a relatively straightforward vote was the possibility of a Bunnings development on the Tura site. 

The vote may well have gone the other way with council support for a Zone B5 business development if Councillor Kristy McBain had been present, but instead the vote of the northern councillors, Mayor Bill Taylor, Greens Keith Hughes, Liz Seckold and Ann Mawhinney prevailed.

Cr Tony Allen, of Cobargo, was on the side of the southerners – Crs Russell Fitzpatrick, Sharon Tapscott, Michael Britten - argued strongly for the establishment of the business zone.

Curiously, the mayor promoted the idea of the rescission motion, which seemed to suggest a recognition of the inevitable.

But in the end, the southerners could well win the day. It is a certainty that a rescission motion will be lodged, and with Cr McBain, who has made no secret she supports the business zone, back among the ranks, the pro- business group will have the majority vote provided they all stay the course.

Curiously, the mayor promoted the idea of the rescission motion, which seemed to suggest a recognition of the inevitable. Whichever way it goes, the proposed rezoning requires Department of Planning and Infrastructure approval and public consultation.

Cr Hughes moved that the zoning of Lots 33 and 34 Tura Beach be R5 large lot residential with 1 hectare average lot size.

Cr Britten said it had never been council’s intention to go back to R5 as it had supported R3 Medium residential.

Council group manager planning and environment, Andrew Woodley, said that was correct.

Cr Britten said the land in question was best suited for a business zone. Cr Taylor said it was quite clear in a December 18 report to council that it was strategically zoned residential land.

“It is residential land near the seaside.” He said that council staff had opposed the rezoning to allow for the construction of the Woolworths supermarket. “It (that rezoning) has now opened the gate,” he said.

“Tura is a local centre, and that has always been its strategic objective. It should be for residential use.”

Cr Britten said: “We have barely 1 per cent growth in the shire. We need development and that is why I support the rezoning.“

Cr Hughes said that he supported Cr Taylor.

“It will be detrimental to the community. I want to see growth, but constrained to suitable areas.”

Cr Allen said: “Times move on and times change. No-one I’ve spoken to wants to live close to a busy supermarket. The amount of traffic it gets now, it wouldn’t be a nice place to live. We need to encourage some of the big company businesses; sometimes we have to accept change.”

Cr Tapscott said: ”Woolies supermarket rendered that piece of land useless (for residential). It is a noisy block.”

Cr Seckold said she was against the business zone.  “We have voted that the regional centre is Bega and that’s where large commercial development should be.”

“It is wrong to say that everything should be in Bega,” Cr Britten said. He said the company keen to establish a business at Tura had found it hard to find a suitable site elsewhere. “This one is suitable,” Cr Britten said.

Cr Taylor said if the land were to be rezoned business it would open it up to a range of  potential uses – not just a bulky goods store but could include many other uses including a garden centre, service station, function centre, a car repair shop,  or a car sales yard, he said.

Cr Fitzpatrick said that everyone was aware that Bega had been nominated as the regional centre but “every town and community has a right to grow in its own right”.

He said that Woolies had changed the dynamics of the land use at the entrance to Tura. He said if the land was not rezoned business, it would remain vacant as it was unsuitable for residential use and non-one would want to live there.

Cr Mawhinney said: “Just because Woolies is there it does not impair the site I don’t think it should be an industrial (commercial) site and I don’t think the Tura Beach people would want it to be.”

Cr Fitzpatrick said:”We say we want development in the shire, but we are pushing developers away. We are forming economic committees to grow the shire, but what is the point. I don’t think R5 zone is suitable. It won’t attract residents; it is only suitable for commercial development.”

Cr Taylor said it was purely speculation on the part of the councillors to say that no-one would buy the land for residential use.

“There is the opportunity to lodge a rescission motion. It has been said I should take Cr McBain’s views into consideration, but the point is Cr McBain is not here.”      

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