THE controversial expansion of a popular Emerald Beach caravan park has been placed on hold by Coffs Harbour City Council, with further assessments to now be undertaken.
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Emerald Beach Discovery Holiday Park plans to add 26 new campsites, a new amenities building, a replacement bridge and internal roads to its Fishermans Drive, Emerald Beach site.
The caravan park currently contains 117 short term caravan sites and 30 camping sites.
Emerald Beach locals have spoken out against the proposal, concerned about traffic and flooding issues which may arise if the proposed caravan park expansion is approved by Council.
An original development application for the expansion in 2017 attracted 104 submissions, all objecting to the development.
Emerald Beach local Dr Anna Scott spoke against the proposal at Council’s latest meeting on Thursday, 13 August via an emailed submission.
Ms Scott raised her concerns about traffic impacts, flood risks and the social and environmental impacts of the proposed caravan park expansion.
“I do not believe a comprehensive assessment of the application has been undertaken,” Ms Scott stated in her submission to Council.
Paul Widdowson, who lives in the same street as the caravan park, also spoke against the proposal on behalf of many Emerald Beach residents, stating his concerns over traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, flood risks, noise, pollution and environmental impacts.
“The caravan park has already been significantly expanded under previous DA’s,” Mr Widdowson stated.
“Emerald Beach is a small village community, the caravan park is big enough, no further expansion should be allowed.”
Greg Vincent spoke in support of the proposal on behalf of Discovery Parks, and said the caravan park had never been fully developed to its capacity of 200 sites.
“The development does not pose a risk from flooding, and will not cause unacceptable traffic impacts on Fishermans Drive,” Mr Vincent stated.
“We are hopeful of supporting the Emerald Beach community with this development.”
Cr Sally Townley urged her fellow councillors at the latest Council meeting to defer approving the caravan park expansion “in fairness to the neighbours and the objectors”.
“It’s a real material concern about flooding,” Cr Townley said.
Cr Tegan Swan also expressed her concern over car parking issues associated with day visitors using the waterpark facility within the caravan park.
Council resolved to defer making a decision on the development application until Council staff undertake a final hydraulic assessment for the proposed new bridge, together with complete detailed design and construction levels of the new bridge.
An ecological assessment of the vegetation removal and riparian disturbance associated with the bridge construction, and an updated traffic and parking supply assessment will also be carried out.
The caravan park has been part of the Emerald Beach village since the 1970s.
By Emma DARBIN