Palmer Island

On the North Coast of New South Wales about half way between Ballina and Coffs Harbour and just west of Yamba is Palmers Island. Historically sugar cane country, the area is still predominantly agricultural, but now you’ll also find tea tree or macadamia plantations, aquaculture, horse breeding and cattle grazing, interspersed with the odd B&B or caravan park. The landscape is flat, average sized trees are visible kilometers away, and there’s a sleepy ambiance which makes you wish you could sit and watch the world go by for hours at a time.

This, though, is where Yamba Welding and Construction is proposing to rezone a parcel of land to enable them to construct a ship building facility. A colossal compound surrounded by an acoustic barrier which would extend up to almost eight metres above the natural ground level, which they propose to raise with fill to bring it above the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) flood level. Contained within the barrier they propose to construct two large sheds the height of a four storey building, as well as a car park for 125 cars, hardstand areas and enough room to maneuver semi-trailers.

Twice Yamba Welding and Construction have failed to get this proposal through a Gateway Determination, in 2014 and 2017. Late 2017 they submitted their proposal again to the Joint Regional Planning Panel, who, after some minor amendments recommended that the proposal should proceed through Gateway, which is subsequently did in August 2018.

Molino Stewart were engaged to review the planning proposal in relation to Strategic Planning Context, Flood Impact, Noise Impact, Transport and Traffic Impact, Heritage Impact, Contamination Impact, Waterfront Structures, Water Quality Impacts, Ecological Impacts, and Visual Impacts. Yamba were found to be lacking in all areas.