Ballina residents are opposing a move by RSL Life Care to redevelop the Ex-Services Home, Ballina.
Ballina residents are opposing a move by RSL Life Care to redevelop the Ex-Services Home, Ballina.

Owen Street plan opposed

WHAT was established as a rest home for veterans is currently not giving any rest to neighbouring residents.

The locals are gearing up to oppose a Development Application lodged with Ballina Shire Council to revamp the Ex-Services Home Ballina, a move which the neighbours say will cause problems by taking away car parks and possibly reduce access in Owen Street.

The sticking point is the proposal to reduce the current on-site car parking spaces from 27 to 12 and the proposal to landscape the section of Owen Street from Hackett Lane to the northern end of the street at North Creek.

Ray Fox, who lives in Fox Street near the popular Meldrum Park, said car parking was already at a premium, and any loss of on-site space at the nursing home will mean more traffic, and less car parking, in the surrounding streets, particularly at the park.

He said the neighbouring streets were already chock-full of parked cars owned by staff and visitors to the nursing home.

He said a lack of parking for staff and residents had been an issue since the mid-1990s when the administration offices were built in Bentinck Street.

Another resident, Del Ezzy, said the extra traffic in the streets around the home was 'an accident waiting to happen'.

She said the changes to parking at the home would increase traffic in Norton and Fox streets - areas popular among scooter drivers heading to Meldrum Park and following the North Creek shared pathway.

Warren Lindsay, who also lives near Meldrum Park, said the proposals would take parking away from Meldrum Park and force picnickers to go elsewhere.

“If there's no parking, no one is going to go there,” he said.

President of Water Access To Encourage Recreation (WATER), Denis Magnay, is ready to put the gloves on for a second time to save Owen Street.

He said it wasn't clear from the plans before Ballina Shire Council what the intention was for the end of the street near North Creek, but it looked like on-road parking was going to be at risk.

“What we see we don't like,” he said this week.

He said many people, particularly older people, enjoyed fishing in North Creek, and Owen Street allowed them to park their cars close to the water so they didn't have to walk far with their fishing tackle.

About 10 years ago he was part of a campaign to save Owen Street when the Ex-Services Home unsuccessfully lodged a DA to expand.

The current proposal includes the demolition of the Remembrance Wing on Owen Street and the construction of 22 two-bedroom serviced care apartments in a two-storey building with eight single garages.

Ardell Payne and Partners completed a traffic assessment on behalf of the owners of the nursing home, RSL Life Care.

They reported the proposed development would 'only slightly increase the number of daily and peak-hourly trips generated by the site' and that 'sufficient parking is provided on site in accordance with the requirements of the Seniors Living SEPP to cater for the proposed development'.

Submissions on the DA close on October 9.

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