Community Wants To ‘Save Scotts Head’ From Proposed Ingenia Lifestyle Development
THE Scotts Head Community Group (SHCG) held information sessions on Friday, 25 January to discuss a proposed Ingenia Lifestyle over 55s development in the village, with approximately 70 people attending the first session.
A subcommittee has been formed called ‘Save Scotts Head’ to liaise with Nambucca Valley Council and Ingenia Lifestyle about the communities’ concerns and objections over the touted development.
Save Scotts Head subcommittee member Ray Fowke was the mediator for the two back-to-back information sessions.
Ingenia Lifestyle is part of the Ingenia Communities group, an ASX 200 listed operator with more than 90 communities, including holiday parks, residential rental communities and lifestyle communities, located across Australia.
Ingenia’s present proposal is for a minimum of 100 prefabricated manufactured dwellings at 11 Ocean Ridge Road, Way Way.
Currently 899 people live in Scotts Head and locals are concerned this development has the potential of increasing the population by a further 200 people (assuming two people per dwelling, and excluding expansion at a later date).
As yet there has not been a Development Application presented to Nambucca Valley Council, and the Scotts Head Community Group believe extensive community consultation is required before a decision is made.
“There is no planning approval as yet, there needs to be detailed environmental assessments, and community consultation.
“This development is not a done deal,” said Ray Fowke.
Scotts Head residents are concerned a development of this type could cause a significant shortfall in funds for Council and increase costs for ratepayers.
Ingenia Lifestyle developments do not pay development contributions to Nambucca Council, nor will its residents pay LGA rates.
The proposal is for a manufactured housing estate, with buildings to be built off-site and delivered.
Ingenia Lifestyle’s manufactured housing estates are mostly gated communities, and generally do not have onsite healthcare or nursing facilities.
The costs of any improvements needed in infrastructure due to this development will be borne by Nambucca Council, and residential ratepayers now and in the future.
Members of the community have also expressed concerns that a specific over 55s development excludes major sectors of the community, and does not address local housing availability issues.
Nambucca Valley Council has already identified a site of 14 hectares of vacant residential and village zoned land in Scotts Head supplying about 174 lots (Local Strategic Planning Statement 2020), which some locals consider a more prudent development opportunity.
At the information sessions community members voiced their concerns around the risk of bushfires and floods, as most of the south side of Scotts Head Road is native bushland.
Being an over 55’s proposal, concerns raised about trying to move elderly people with low mobility in a fire event, putting residents and fire services at a greater risk.
Other concerns raised related to access to medical and community services.
Scotts Head’s only Medical Service has closed books, and the closest hospital and available health care services are in Macksville.
Concerns over infrastructure, water, sewer and roads, preserving Aboriginal cultural heritage, and native vegetation and wildlife were also voiced at the meetings.
According to the Ingenia Lifestyle website, the company has “now commenced a process of community consultation to hear the thoughts of local residents, provide an opportunity for feedback and take questions from the local community”.
“Ingenia Communities is keen to ensure its commitment to good design is reflected in its approach to this future community and that the project is sympathetic to the local context in Scotts Head.”
What can the community do to stay informed or have their say?
- Join the Scotts Head Community Group.
- Register on the Ingenia Lifestyle consultation webpage at https://ingenialifestyle.com.au/scotts-head-community
- Follow the Scotts Head Community Group on Facebook.
- Check out the Save Scotts Head website at https://www.savescottshead.com
Write or email Nambucca Mayor Rhonda Hoban, Nambucca Valley Council General Manager Michael Coulter and Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey.
Ray Fowke said, “Please think about joining Scotts Head Community Group, we will need volunteers to do letter drops, write letters and emails to departments, everyone has their own special areas of expertise.”
For more information or to volunteer to help send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
By Karen GRIBBIN