Plans for GemLife's $30 million over 50s resort at West Ballina.
Plans for GemLife's $30 million over 50s resort at West Ballina.

EXPLAINED: Next step for West Ballina mega-development

AN APPLICATION for a 300-lot home estate at River St and Burns Point Ferry Road in West Ballina will be put back on public exhibition next week.

Ballina Shire Council has referred the project to the Northern Regional Planning Panel.

Although the council remains the consent authority and will be responsible to carry out the technical assessment of the application, that assessment will be reported to the panel for determination.

Manager of development services, Andrew Smith, said the change was required after the proponent, GemLife, provided the council with an updated estimate of the cost of development for the project in mid-June.

The update was received after the project had been removed from public exhibition.

“Originally the project was estimated at under $30 million but is now estimated by a quantity surveyor to be just over $48 million,” Mr Smith said.

The State Environmental Planning Policy (State and Regional Development) 2011 provides that development that has a capital investment value of more than $30 million comprises regionally significant development.

“As a consequence of the amendment, relevant government agencies have had to be re-notified and the development application will also be placed back on public exhibition in the next week,” Mr Smith said.

The project is for an over-50s resort facility with 300 lots, is about 56 hectares, with a developable area of 14 hectares.

The West Ballina location of the 300-lot GemLife over-50s living development project, currently on exhibition by Ballina Shire Council.
The West Ballina location of the 300-lot GemLife over-50s living development project, currently on exhibition by Ballina Shire Council.

The proponent, GemLife, also has plans for a similar facility at Skennars Head.

The documents, submitted by Lennox Head-based town planning consultancy Planners North, explain the project as a “manufactured home park” that would include 300 lots, a manager’s residence, club house and recreation facilities including a bowling green, pool, tennis court and golf simulator.

According to documents submitted to council, the proposal for the vacant site includes “a resort-style retirement village, boasting a revolutionised concept for over 50s living with primary focus on health, wellbeing ad social interactions providing a low-maintenance

lifestyle to be developed by GemLife.”

The project has been broken down into four stages beginning on the Burns Point Ferry Road frontage.

West Ballina residents have voiced their objections to the proposal, due to water and flooding issues, the amount of traffic that the project will introduce to the area, consequences of height variation, environmental concerns and further restrictions to residents currently living in West Ballina.

The NRPP’s chair is town planner and environmental scientist Paul Mitchell.

State members are Penny Holloway and Stephen Gow.

The master plan for the new GemLife home estate development project in West Ballina.
The master plan for the new GemLife home estate development project in West Ballina.