Palm Lake CEO Manuel Lang riled over NSW Council strategies of delay

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He says he fears the continued barriers that NSW local governments put up against seniors housing development applications will, ultimately, drive prices up for the end user.

He has just gone through another journey to the Land & Environment Court.

Palm Lake held a valid Site Compatibility Certificate for Seniors Housing from the NSW State Government’s Planning and Environment Department to add 156 new homes to the existing 304 homes at its Palm Lake Resort Ballina retirement village – which has been in operation since 2005.

With that certificate and the Ballina Local Environmental Plan nominating the land in their Future Urban Growth Area, they were confident of a development consent. But the DA met with resistance from Ballina Shire Council.

Following an 18-month application and legal process, costing Palm Lake Group in the vicinity of $1.5 million, the Land and Environment Court this week handed down a judgment approving an additional 75 new homes.

That process alone adds $20,000 to each home at cost.

Aaron Gadiel of law firm Mills Oakley says “The good news is that the Court has a proven ability to grapple with these issues…In this case, Ballina Shire Council raised so many issues that a 113-page judgment was required”

Palm Lakes says “There appears to be a growing trend among New South Wales local councils unwilling to make hard decisions and ultimately leaving it to the court to decide. Ultimately, these unnecessary costs and delays financially impact ratepayers and the end users – when supply is affected so too are prices. With project hold-ups like this, there are also knock-on effects on the local construction industry.”

Palm Lake is owned by the Elliott family. After 42 years of business they have 25 locations, including land lease communities, retirement villages and now three co located aged care facilities with two more due next year. They are based in Southport (QLD).