It was under water a year ago, now developer wants 60-plus homes on it

ABOVE: Residents at the meeting with consultants to the developer at Broadwater Hall.

Susanna Freymark

A site of 60 blocks, with potential for several units on each block, is proposed for a housing development at 59 Rileys Hill Road, Broadwater.

About 50 residents gathered to ask questions of the developers’ consultants Ardill Payne & Partners at a community meeting at Broadwater Hall last night, Tuesday, February 7.

One woman asked about the floods: “Who is going to rescue all the people living in those 60 blocks?”

That question wasn’t answered by consultants Scott Roberts and Dwayne Roberts or by developer Rob Jacob who were there to talk to residents about plans for the development.

The paddock has been zoned residential since 1972.

Scott Roberts and Dwayne Roberts from Ballina based Ardill Payne & Partners speak at the meeting.

Scott Roberts said they reduced the plan from 93 lots to 60 lots after the flooding and because of koala concerns.

He outlined the Australian Height Datum (AHD) measurements used to assess flood potential at the site.

There will be 30,000 cubic metres of fill put in the paddock and houses built on top of that fill will have to meet the AHD height of 4.5m, he said.

The blocks will use on-site pods as a sewerage system.

More questions came from the floor:

▪ “Yes, we need more housing. What about the impact on people down the hill?”

▪ “What is climate change going to bring to this area? That’s what we’re looking at. We are going to have to expect more of the same.”

▪ “It (flood) has happened once – it can happen again.”

Ultimately, the development application will have to be decided by Richmond Valley Council.

Protest signs at the Rileys Hill Rd site. contacted the office of Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts. One of the questions we asked was: “This 60-block proposal is on land that was under water in February–March 2022. Can the State Government put a hold on all development until new flood modelling is in?”

He did not directly respond but sent this generic statement from a Department of Planning and Environment spokesperson: “The Independent Flood Inquiry made clear recommendations about the need to apply a risk-based approach to determine appropriate flood planning levels for each catchment.

“The NSW Government has established the NSW Reconstruction Authority to undertake this work, which will guide future development.

“In the interim, councils remain responsible for flood mapping and should do this based on the latest available flood studies.

“The updated 2021 Flood Prone Land Package has given councils the ability to take a more risk-based approach to managing flood risk beyond the 1 in 100-year flood level.”

The statement from the minister’s spokesperson puts the onus on council.

Residents at the community meeting also raised concerns about the removal of eucalypt trees and the impact this would have on koala corridors.

Scott Roberts said only 10 trees would be removed at the site.

Ardill Payne & Partners is also developing the Pitt St site in Broadwater.

Much of the information from the developers at the meeting was confusing. approached the consultants at the end of the meeting to ask questions but they left in a hurry and refused to answer any questions.

Resident Jemma Donnelly who organised the meeting urged locals to make a submission to council against the development.

Jemma Donnelly, far right, organised the meeting at Broadwater Hall.

To make a submission about the development of 59 Rileys Hill Road, do one of these:

Email it to

Fill out a Make a Submission form on council’s website.

Post it to General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10, Casino NSW 2470

Deliver to council’s administration centre in Casino or Evans Head

Submissions close at 4pm on Saturday, February 18.

More information on state planning can be found here.

There is an online petition against the development here.

Let’s build houses here – just add water

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