A development application for an ecotourist facility at Smiths Lake was approved by MidCoast Council at the May 27 ordinary meeting.
The matter was deferred from the March 25 ordinary council meeting to allow applicant Simple Pleasures Camping Co to address concerns with some conditions of approval.
The facility is earmarked for the southern end of Macwood Road. Considered a 'unique camping experience within a natural setting', the facility will include a camping ground, camping platforms, a yoga platform, camp kitchen, amenities, office and store room.
It's considered unconventional as guests will be provided with tents and bedding.
The land which the facility will be built on is bushfire prone. As such, a bushfire assessment report was submitted to NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) for consideration.
The organisation provided conditional support to the proposal and issued a bushfire safety authority for the development.
This was signed off in October, one month prior to the devastating bushfire crisis.
This notion was discussed at the council meeting after Cr Katheryn Smith wanted to clarify if a new plan was required.
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Although new legislation was enforced in NSW in March, council's director of liveable communities Paul De Szell said it couldn't be applied to the application as it was lodged beforehand.
Council received written submissions in relation to the application, while several people spoke at a public forum.
Some of the issues raised include increased traffic, increased bushfire risk, loss of privacy, noise and environmental concerns.
A council report, which outlined the consideration for the application, said concerns in relation to bushfires, access and ecological impacts were valid.
Minor changes to the final proposal addressed these concerns.
Cr Peter Epov was the only present councillor to vote against approval for the facility. Cr Claire Pontin was absent from the meeting and therefore didn't vote.
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