THE New South Wales Department of Planning and Infrastructure last week announced it has approved one of the largest residential projects on the state's Mid North Coast.
Situated 18 kilometres south of Port Macquarie and located between the coastal villages of Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills, the 177 hectare Rainbow Beach site lies within a land release area identified for urban growth by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and known as 'Area 14'.
According to the Department, approval has been granted for a concept plan and stage 1 development featuring:
- Up to 1,100 housing lots to accommodate approximately 2,500 residents;
- A village centre;
- A school site;
- Playing fields; and
- Significant open space areas.
The Department's Deputy Director-General Richard Pearson said the project application features a 75 hectare central open space corridor – almost half the site – separated into various habitat and recreation precincts.
"Setting aside this area was one of many conditions of approval the department imposed after careful planning and collaboration between local and NSW Government agencies," Mr Pearson said.
"We believe we have achieved a balanced planning outcome that provides for substantial future housing while conserving the site's environmentally significant areas.
"The central corridor is a unique opportunity to restore wildlife habitats for certain threatened species and endangered ecological communities.
"It also offers substantial community benefits including public playing fields, picnic areas, a children's playground, beach access paths, and bicycle/ pedestrian paths on land outside the main residential areas.
Mr Pearson said the project sets a benchmark for future large-scale residential land releases on the Mid North Coast by proposing development that's sympathetic to the fragile environment and Aboriginal cultural attributes of the site's coastal location.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Director of Development and Environment Matt Rogers said the approval was the culmination of coordinated planning over the last decade.
"This land release is an important part of the area's Urban Growth Management Strategy and with the development expected to cater for up to 2,500 people, it will have a positive impact on both housing and lifestyle options in the Port Macquarie-Hastings area," Mr Rogers said.
The Department said the combined estimated cost of the project is $150 million which will make a significant contribution to economic development in the growing Port Macquarie-Hastings area.