Golden Times in the Golden Valley, Kiama Bugle, 18 April, 2024

After three years of planning and dispute, the Golden Valley Subdivision, set on an old dairy farm just outside Jamberoo, has finally been approved. 

The proposal is for 50 houses on 850 square metre blocks. As land releases are rare around Jamberoo, and the area increasingly sought-after, the Golden Valley Road development is expected to attract considerable interest amongst buyers. 

The Kiama Council “settled at the doors of the court,” so to speak, with the matter headed for the Land and Environment Court in mid-April. 

Director of the developers, the Fountaindale Group, Jennifer Macquarie, said she was pleased the development application had been successfully resolved.

“It’s a shame that it took three years and a court case to achieve a development consent,” she said. “This subdivision was recommended for approval by Council staff last year, and had it been endorsed by Council back then, both sides could have saved the substantial cost of the appeal process.”

Ms Macquarie said it was a fair estimate that the combined legal costs between the Council and Fountaindale would be in the order of $500,000.

“As an applicant, our relationship with the Council was fine, it all progressed as normal. But it was really a political issue, and we had to roll with where Council decided to go.” 

“There was definitely some negativity from the neighbours, and the councillors responded to that, while the planning staff were happy with it, and recommended its approval.” 

“It was purely the local politics that stood in the way. It had nothing to do with the technical complexity.”

Ms Macquarie said they already had a substantial list of interested buyers. 

“We will be communicating our intended construction and sales program with the public in the next week or so,” she said. “It’s fantastic to be offering 50 families the opportunity to become new members of the Jamberoo community.”

While some local residents think the development will be good for the Jamberoo community, others do not. 

Garry Cochran, whose back fence borders the housing project, was one of six original objectors and spoke publicly about his issues at the Jamberoo Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association.

Garry was concerned about increased population, increased road usage, increased demand on facilities, schools, open areas and changes in the country atmosphere.

He told the meeting there were complicated water, waste, access and traffic problems. 

“Once it happens, there is no turning back! Here we have a developer whose only concern is maximum yield and profit, not what is best for residents and future residents.

“Why do people want to come to Jamberoo to live and visit? For what it is now: Peaceful, happy, friendly and attractive housing and beautiful green countryside.”

Ms Macquarie responded, “While it’s understandable that some people prefer things not to change around them, the reality is that change is constant. When I was growing up in Jamberoo in the 1970s, the population was around 600. Since then, the village has grown progressively to its current population of around 2000 people.”

“It happens for any new development in Jamberoo, but over time those new places and the people who move there settle in to become part of the fabric of the village. They provide new students for the primary school, become customers of local businesses, join sports clubs, and become volunteers for local organisations.”

Kiama Council Director for Planning Ms Jessica Rippon said: “Given the application had originally been recommended for approval by staff, the focus through the court process was on resolving some of the community concerns with lot layout, heritage, detention basin maintenance and vehicle movements within the subdivision, and this has been achieved.”

“Legal fees for this matter did create a burden for Council and ratepayers, and we are

pleased that the matter is now resolved and further costs will be avoided.”

“We are pleased to see 50 additional lots being delivered for the Kiama Local Government Area, particularly in light of the market supply.”

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