Clarence Valley Council candidate Peter Ellem.
Clarence Valley Council candidate Peter Ellem. Adam Hourigan Photography

Councillor warns development approval sets precedent

AS THE debate over the Pacific Hotel came to an end, one councillor signalled what everyone had seemed to miss - they might be setting a precedent.

On Tuesday, Clarence Valley Council voted to allow the redevelopment of the Pacific Hotel, complete with its new deck and several variations to the Development Control Plan including exceeding height limits. Minutes before the final vote, Councillor Peter Ellem raised the proposition that by allowing it they could be setting a precedent for years to come.

"There has been a history of council saying no to people there when they want to do things," he said.

"I think we should keep that in mind that there may be future change in that precinct as a result of our decision today.

"In a way council today will set a precedent for height and how far out from the ridge line you can go."

Despite raising the prospect of precedent, Mr Ellem saw the development a positive for Yamba which would give residents and the developers "certainty" on "one of the most iconic hotels in NSW".

Earlier in the debate, the prospect of building on a ridge sometimes subject to land slip warnings was too much for Cr Greg Clancy.

He was concerned with the potential of building works to impact adjacent buildings and said while he was satisfied reports documenting "the odd crack" would take place, he was worried about a more serious event occurring.

"What if the whole building goes down the hill with people in it - it could be quite serious," he said.

However, Cr Andrew Baker took issue with way Cr Clancy had alluded to such a serious event without any explanation of its cause and called it an "over-exaggeration."

He said Cr Clancy was "trying to create additional fear" and it was an obligation on council to ensure all the construction planning was the "best quality available.

"This will be, I suspect, one of the most scrutinised developments," Cr Baker said.

"Everything about this will be scrutinised and I believe it will be one of the most sound constructions."

"It will have to be, it's as simple as that given it's location, geotechnical issues, the drainage issues and all the other issues involved."

The motion was passed with Cr Clancy the sole objector.