What is being proposed?

Strategic Action #32 of the Lennox Head Strategic Plan directs Council to initiate discussions with landowners regarding the potential rezoning of land at Ross Lane identified as a Strategic Urban Growth Area (SUGA) for future employment/industrial purposes. A map of the SUGA is shown below, with the red cross showing (in my opinion), where development would most likely occur (see flood risks below).

While rezoning this land would enable future development, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. For example, the owner might not agree to the rezoning, the planning proposal may commence but not be approved by Council, the owner may not enter into a relationship with a developer, or any proposed development may not be approved by the planning system. If it does proceed, development will occur over the medium term (5-10 years) timeframe.

It is important to note that there is a whole raft of studies that need to take place before any future development can occur, including relating to floods, bushfires, biodiversity, and Indigenous heritage, which all apply to this area. These studies occur as part of the planning proposal and will inform any decision about rezoning. so the question the public need to be asking themselves now is: do we support, in principle, the prospect of light industrial development on this site?

Why is this being proposed?

Whether we like it or not, over the next decade, Lennox Head will experience a significant growth in population, due to the large number of new housing estates currently being developed. Unfortunately, because of its location, our CBD area cannot expand further to cater for this growth. This means ongoing problems with parking.

In the past, industrial development was relegated to rural areas or stand-alone “industrial estates” on the outskirts of town. But with advances in technology, including materials and machinery that reduce noise and emissions, mean that many industries, particularly in the food processing and manufacturing sector, can exist alongside retail and even residential.

Analysis also suggests that there is a shortage of light industrial land across the Ballina Shire. This means that local businesses will find it hard to grow and succeed and will likely move elsewhere.

What are the benefits?

Local economic development

Mixed-use precincts provide opportunities for small-scale local businesses to expand, without having to relocate to larger cities, which can retain talented business entrepreneurs in our community. When done right, they can provide exciting and diverse opportunities for employment, entertainment, shopping, and recreation. A light industrial precinct could promote economic development and cater for future growth in Lennox Head. It may also mean that more products are services are available closer to home, reducing travel time and vehicle emissions. An interesting article on the benefits of this type of development can be found here.

Environmental outcomes

Proceeding with rezoning this area may also present the opportunity for Council to apply a more appropriate zoning to areas of the land that are more ecologically sensitive. These are indicated in red in the image above and have been removed as Strategic Urban Growth Areas. Council may even seek to acquire these areas and use them for biodiversity offsets. Because the landowner stands to profit from a change of zoning to this area, Council is in a better place to insist on a better environmental outcome for the community.

What are the risks?

Flooding, biodiversity and other planning constraints

Like many parts of the Ballina Shire, this land has significant environmental constraints that may thwart any future development. While it has long been cleared for grazing cattle, this area is in fact coastal wetlands. The parts shaded in blue in the image below are known to flood. The parts shaded in green are preferred koala habitat. The parts shaded in pink are known to be a wildlife corridor. The land also contains vegetation that presents a bushfire risk (not shown here) and given the importance of this area to Indigenous peoples, may also contain artefacts and other significant sites.



While a portion of this land on the Eastern side appears to be free from planning constraints, the question remains whether further development in sensitive areas is desirable given the threats of climate change to the environment and community.

Unsustainable growth

Some people may oppose development in this location because they don’t want further growth in Lennox Head, especially since we’ve already shouldered the bulk of the Shire’s residential growth. With growth comes legitimate concerns about traffic. They may also feel that reducing farmland may affect the rural character of the town.

Tell us what you think?

Tell us what you think about Strategic Action #32 of the Lennox Head Strategic Plan but making a formal submission on the Your Say Ballina website here: https://www.yoursayballina.com.au/lennox-head-strategic-plan

You can also send me an email at [email protected] or call me on 0419493898.