Sun. Dec 5th, 2021

A controversial Port Macquarie development proposal, which was examined in a recent ABC Four Corners report examining the interests of the Obeid family’s coastal properties, has been rejected by the Northern Regional Planning Panel.

The Obeids have not put their name on the Pacific Drive project, and the head of development company Laurus Projects told Four Corners that the Obeid family had no involvement in the proposed 68-unit complex.

Eleven speakers, mostly local residents, signed up to speak at the Northern Regional Planning Panel on Thursday, and all were against the development.

‘Visual pollution’

“From my perspective, the building will be an eye-catcher, it’s too high,” Krissa Wilkinson said.

“To allow a development of this size and density to continue here will set an undesirable precedent for similar high-rise buildings along our entire coastline,” said Ed Coleman.

vacant development plot with a view of the catchment area to the west
Objections to the development included the loss of the “iconic” sunsets that both locals and visitors enjoy. (ABC Mid North Coast: Luisa Rubbo)

Lyndal Narin said the development would lead to the area becoming “something like the Gold Coast”, while Carole Field described it as “visual pollution of the worst kind”.

Malcolm McNeil, who represented a group of concerned local architects, told the panel that they usually did not make a habit of criticizing other projects, but felt so strongly about Laurus’ development that they had to make an exception.

“The entrance ramps and stairs are just a mess as far as we are concerned.”

The proposed development faces Pacific Drive
Municipality-owned land would have formed part of the proposed development site if the application had been approved.(ABC Mid North Coast: Luisa Rubbo)

Fear of koalas, privacy

The Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s Deputy Mayor and mayoral candidate, Lisa Intemann, addressed the panel as a person, not as a councilor.

“We have to be very careful to make sure that this does not actually set a precedent with regard to, for example, the height exceedance,” she said.

“And as for koalas – there are 25 trees to be removed, native and non-native – this is known as a koala itinerary.”

stairs to the coastal walkway overlooking the Pacific Ocean
The chairman of the panel said the proposal would have had a negative impact on the scenic quality of the coast.(ABC Mid North Coast: Emma Siossian)

Unanimous rejection

After about 45 minutes of consideration and a previous inspection of the site, panel chairman Paul Mitchell reviewed the eight reasons why the proposal was unanimously rejected.

Among the reasons mentioned were loss of privacy, overshadowing to the west and south and the extensive building form of the settlement.

Sir. Mitchell said the proposal was contrary to the Coastal Administration SEPP, citing two clauses specifically due to negative impacts on the visual convenience and scenic quality of the coast.

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Play video.  Duration: 48 minutes 22 seconds

Obeid Inc: the secret deals that earn the Obeid family millions.(Four corners)


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