ON DEFENCE: Yamba Welding and Engineering owner Bill Collingburn .
ON DEFENCE: Yamba Welding and Engineering owner Bill Collingburn . Adam Hourigan

Business owner 'open and honest' with community about plans

CLARENCE Valley Council has extended the exhibition period for a proposal to rezone land at Palmers Island for marine industrial purposes.

The Palmers Island Marine Industrial Planning Proposal was lodged for the rezoning of a 10.6ha parcel of land on School Rd from RU1 Rural Primary Production to IN4 Working Waterfront and another 1.1ha to W3 Working Waterway.

If the final determination made by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment is successful, it will open the door for Yamba Welding, which currently employs 34 people, to go through the development application process to expand and potentially triple its workforce.

The locally owned business specialises in building aluminium boats and the majority of its customers are government organisations such as Australian Border Force, police and Roads and Maritime Services.

The proposal has been met with opposition from some Palmers Island residents and the date for submissions was extended from June 11 to July 12.

While owner Bill Collingburn welcomed "robust discussion", he intimated that The Daily Examiner had printed statements based on "deliberate falsehood".

Mr Collingburn said while a concept plan was not necessary for a rezoning application, Yamba Welding did so "to be open and honest with the community to show what could be done on that land".

Many of the designs stipulated "worst-case scenario" recommendations, such as 5.5m high acoustic walls. These walls were described as 8m high in an article on June 2 and then 12m in a letter to the editor on June 6. Buildings, however, will be up to 12m high.

"We would rather build no walls, only the two acoustically designed sheds," Mr Collingburn said.

"But if we presented a concept plan just showing no walls and walls were required, we would rightfully be accused of misleading council and the community."

To see the proposal or make a submission visit clarence. nsw.gov.au/onexhibition.