24 October 2019

Six storeys of plush gets the green light in Batemans Bay

| Elise Searson and Ian Campbell
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Robin Innes: Photo: Facebook

Ohana in the Hawaiian language means ‘Family’ and for the foreshore of Batemans Bay, it’s about to mean a shiny six-storey building – and the biggest view blocker to date for local stalwart Robin Innes.

“I’m not against development,” Mrs Innes says, “I just don’t like these developers coming to town doing whatever they like, why should they? Why isn’t 5 storeys enough for them.”

Ohana is a luxury 67-apartment complex being developed by Canberra-based Core Developments. The $19 million project will stand 22 metres at it’s highest point, 7 metres above Council’s allowed limit.

Despite that, the development was approved at the August 27 meeting of Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Ohana is one of two big developments being contested by local residents, the other being a ‘gated seniors community’ planned for Hanging Rock known as The Estuary, the plans for which have been sent back to the developer with a list of recommendations.

“The JRPP (Joint Regional Planning Panel) reviewed the Hanging Rock development, I expected the same outcome for this development,” Mrs Innes says.

However the JRPP generally only considers developments of this style valued at over $30 million.

Joe Smith, who is also a long term resident, as well as real estate agent and ex-councillor believes the height approved for Ohana sets a worrying precedent for future development on Beach Road.

“Admittedly council may vary the controlled height limits in certain circumstances but Councillors should be aware this does create a precedent for developments along Beach Road,” he says.

“It will be very difficult for Council to oppose future applications to vary ELEP (Eurobodalla Local Environmental Plan) controls. This will only encourage developers to push the envelope.”

Mr Smith is calling for a go-slow in order for resident concerns about visual impacts to be better considered.

“We believe a meeting between affected landowners, the developers and Council staff could achieve a satisfactory outcome,” he says.

“In this way Council is properly taking the community along with it in major and important changes to the controls in the very strategic area.”

Canberra developers will be bringing 67 apartments to Batemans Bay. Photo: All Homes.

A Council spokesperson says, “Council assesses all development applications on merit and in accordance with its statutory obligations.”

“Legal precedents and planning principals resulting from relevant cases in the Land and Environment Court are also taken into account. All submissions received from the public are considered within this same framework.”

Eurobodalla Councillors Maureen Nathan and Jack Taitt declared significant interests in the development and left the chamber during the discussion and decision of August 27.

Mayor Liz Innes, the daughter of Robin Innes has remained at arm’s length and was absent from the meeting of August 27.

Green’s Councillor Pat McGinlay voted in favour of the development along with Crs Brown, Constable, Mayne, Pollock and Thomson.

“I take every development as it comes and look at the individual merit of each and I am convinced of the integrity of this development,” he says.

Ohana is being marketed as “Leading a new era of the South Coast, finally allowing Batemans Bay to reach its full potential. The pristine apartments sanction a new found love for the Bay. Set your own pace and unlock a lifestyle led by significant moments.”

Region Media contacted Core Developments but they declined to comment.

Speaking to All Homes earlier this month, Company Director Ryan Cappello said, “Core Developments is a family-run, Canberra-grown business, so the South Coast was a natural progression for us.”

“Batemans Bay is less than two hours from the capital and embedded into our memory as a childhood holiday destination.

“We see this as an opportunity to inject vitality and sophistication into the coastline while engaging with the architects at to make a meaningful impact on the community.”

The other Canberra link to the project is architectural firm, JUDD.studio – the lead architects on the apartment complex. JUDD also declined the opportunity to make comment to Region Media.

“The building’s prominent position on Beach Road aims to set a high aesthetic benchmark for new development in the region,” JUDD.studio Director Nathan Judd told All Homes.

VIP interest in the one, two and three bedroom apartments is being recorded now, with the official launch of the development scheduled for the end of October.

The Ohana site on the corner of Herarde Street and Beach Road. Photo: All Homes

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Where is all the fill from the excavation going and is it certified “clean” fill?

Concerned Resident9:39 pm 26 Oct 19

How can a Greens representative be in favor of such a monstrosity?

Move with the times12:58 pm 22 Oct 19

I think it’s marvelous! What a wonderful view from every apartment! Can’t wait till we see more along beach road to enjoy the wonderful scenery that is our Clyde River. Sure it’s great to have development free areas that is pure nature along our river that we should keep and protect, but Beach Road is already developed with houses, the height doesn’t matter and is not impeding anyone, unless you are a bird, which you are not!

It’s about time they built something along that strip. It’s a beautiful waterway.

Concerned resident9:18 am 21 Oct 19

If council have height limits, then why are they not applying them to this development. We do want development but don’t want to be turned into a “Gold Coast”.

Roslyn Hunter8:40 am 21 Oct 19

I personally think it’s one level too high! & don’t want Batemans Bay’s beach road to look like Surfers Paradise . By allowing this height to go ahead it’s setting a precedent for all future development.

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