Hotel approved despite protests
By Justin Randell
WOLLONGONG — The controversial $25 million Cliff Road hotel is one step closer to reality after Wollongong Council voted to approve the development application on November 30. The application was debated before a gallery of 50 protesters, including many from the Citizens for Coastal Protection Group (CCPG).
Four councillors voted against the proposal. Labor Lord Mayor David Campbell said that concerns related to the rezoning of land for the hotel had been addressed by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning.
"The community should have confidence that we have followed due process and we have made an appropriate decision", he said.
These words ring hollow coming from a council that has approved a copper smelter in a residential area and the development of houses in flood-prone areas — decisions that have had disastrous consequences for the communities involved.
The council has refused to conduct an environmental impact assessment on the development, and many members of the community fear that the council's "evaluation" of the project is just a rubber stamp. The council has already amended ("spot-rezoned") the Wollongong Local Environment Plan to allow a higher density of floor space on the site.
Protests against the proposed development will continue. CCPG member Trevor Mott said that the group did not consider the approval of the development application a major blow and believed that ultimately the hotel will not go ahead.
A public meeting against the development will be held on Sunday, January 24, 10am, on the corner of Cliff Road and George's Place.