Anna Bay helipad DA withdrawn during Land and Environment Court proceedings

Community gathered at the cemetery to protest the proposed helipad development. Photo: Marian Sampson.

A DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION (DA) to build a ‘helipad’ at Anna Bay has been withdrawn.

The DA was being appealed in Land and Environment Court after Port Stephens Council earlier refused the development.

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Steve Peart, Group Manager Development Services at Port Stephens Council told News Of The Area, “Council staff has been participating in a Class 1 appeal in the Land and Environment court to defend Council’s refusal of DA 16-2021-387-1 for a Helipad at 4126 Nelson Bay Road, Anna Bay.

“On 13 March Council staff and experts in the field of town planning, acoustics, social impact and ecology, participated in a mandatory conciliation conference with the applicant.

“A large number of community members attended the site visit with several speaking against the proposal.

“The conciliation conference was terminated due to the parties being unable to reach an agreement and a court hearing was set down for August.

“However, since the termination of the conciliation conference, the applicant has chosen to discontinue the court proceedings, in response to the concerns raised by community members and Council’s experts during the conciliation conference.

“The applicant is now time-barred by statute from appealing against Council’s refusal of the DA.

“No indication has been provided by the applicant as to whether another DA may be lodged in future for a similar proposal on this site.”

“There is no determination on who will pay the legal fees as yet,” he said.

Members of the community who have fought against the development are now celebrating what they see as common sense prevailing.

Local Peter Sherriff has family members laid to rest at the Anna Bay Lawn Cemetery adjacent to the proposed site.

“I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed and our departed family members can rest in peace as well as visitors to the site can have quiet and meaningful reflection during their visits,” he said.

The Tomaree Residents and Ratepayers Association (TRRA) said, “TRRA welcomes the announcement that the appeal against Council’s refusal of the so-called ‘helipad’ proposed for Anna Bay has been discontinued.

“The proposed site adjacent to the Anna Bay Lawn Cemetery was never a suitable location for any helicopter operations, let alone the major heliport operation proposed, with up to 70 movements each day.

“Thanks to the weight of community opposition, and multiple sound planning reasons for the refusal, common sense has prevailed.

“This welcome decision will be a great relief to those with loved ones interred at the cemetery, and a source of satisfaction to all those community members who put in time and effort to make well-argued objections.”

Roz Armstrong of the Soldiers Point Community Group said, “The withdrawal of the development application for a Helipad at Anna Bay is a great win for the Community at large.

Roz Armstrong, President of the Soldiers Point Community Group, who lodged a submission in partnership with EcoNetwork, said it’s an example of what a community can do when they work together and support each other.

“There were many objections to this development with a myriad of reasons why this project should not go ahead.

“Starting with the obvious noise pollution issue for residents generally and more significantly for mourners and visitors looking for respectful contemplation at the nearby Anna Bay Cemetery, to the more complex issues of safe airspace, the impact of helicopter rotor downwash on the surrounding national park and its inhabitants as well as a commercial development in a RU2- Rural Landscape zoning.

“Notwithstanding this I believe the community should remain vigilant as I would not be surprised to see something similar suggested sometime in the future,” she said.


Port Stephens Council’s Steve Peart, Group Manager Development Services. Photo: Marian Sampson.

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