Questions about the Wardop Community Village Project

    What is the Wardrop Community Village Project?

    The Wardrop Community Village project seeks to investigate the potential of Council undertaking a financially and environmentally sustainable development to respond to the urgent need for more low-cost and affordable rental housing in the region. 

    The vision is for the village to accommodate a mix of affordable housing tenants (including those on social and affordable housing wait-lists), down-sizers and people looking to live a more sustainable life.

    The proposed site, Council-owned land at Wardrop Valley Road, provides an opportunity to explore new sustainable, ‘off the grid’ systems to support this community village. 

    Where is the proposed Wardrop Community Village located?

    The site is located along Wardrop Valley Road and adjoins the Murwillumbah Industry Central Estate approximately 5km to the south-east of the Murwillumbah town centre (known as Lot 1 DP1069561).  Refer to Map 1 in the Photos section for a satellite image of the site.

    Who owns the proposed site?

    Council is the owner of the land at the proposed site at Wardrop Valley. The site was purchased in 1986 for the purposes of future development. 

    The site is currently leased for livestock agistment.

    Why was this site selected for investigations?

    The Wardrop Valley site is being considered for this project for a number of reasons:

    1. Large flood-free land area for development, despite various constraints. Current work will determine what type of development could be supported on the site and identify the key opportunities and constraints of the site. 

    2. Natural beauty with panoramic views. The site features rolling hills with distinct ridges and valleys and acts as a green buffer between the industrial areas to the north and the existing rural properties to the south. The proposed village could potentially act as a transition between the two and could secure and manage this special character into the future.

    3. The site is located alongside the Murwillumbah Industry Central Estate. Further expansion of this industrial estate is currently under consideration. This expansion would be accompanied by a mixed-use area that could support future retail and commercial enterprise. There are potential social, community and economic benefits of considering additional housing opportunities within close proximity of the expanded Industry Central Estate.

    4. The site has potential to provide new areas of public open space (walking trails and picnic areas).

    Has Council already made the decision to develop this site for the Wardrop Community Village?

    No. To date Council have allocated a budget to undertake preliminary site design investigations only.

    Council has yet to make a decision about whether to allocate additional budget to progress the project beyond the preliminary site design investigations. Preliminary site design investigations, including a schematic plan and a preliminary cost estimate of the project, will be prepared for Council’s consideration.

    If Council resolves to take the project to the next stage, the next step would be to commence the required planning processes and develop a business plan to ascertain how the project could be funded and managed.

    What work has already been done?

    Design consultant Diecke Richards successfully tendered to undertake preliminary investigations and complete a schematic plan. To inform the schematic design, Diecke Richards held an Enquiry by Design Workshop with Council to understand the opportunities and constraints of the site and devise a set of design principles. 

    A report presenting workshop outcomes was endorsed by Council on 5th December 2019. The Enquiry by Design Workshop Outcomes Report can be downloaded from the Document Library. 

    Will Council consult with the community?

    Yes. Council is seeking nominations from community and industry representatives to join a Community Reference Group (CRG) to provide information, advice and views to council concerning the proposed Wardop Community Village project. The CRG’s purpose is to inform the structure planning design process and enhance Council decision makingabout the project.

    This Project Page also provides project information and support documents including the Project Probity Plan, Enquiry by Design Workshop Outcomes Report, Council Reports. Each can be downloaded from the Document Library.

    It is intended that the draft design and supporting information will be publicly exhibited for comment.

    Is the land being considered currently zoned for a new residential housing project such as this?

    The site is currently zoned RU2 Rural Landscape under the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014.

    The concept plan has not yet been developed. Building or housing types have not yet been proposed and the project is not advanced enough yet to understand what changes may need to be made (if any) to land use zoning.

    Changes to land use zoning and/or the types of land use that are allowed on the land is a separate planning process and is currently beyond the scope of the current Wardrop Community Village project.

    What other planning work is happening in the area?

    There are currently two other planning processes underway within the immediate area.

    1. Council’s Industrial Land Swap initiative is located immediately to the north of the site. The Land Swap enables eligible land owners to swap their flood-prone land with Council-owned flood-free land at Industry Central, Murwillumbah. Most of this land is appropriately zoned IN1, however part of the nominated area will be rezoned as part of the below Planning Proposal. 

    2. Draft planning proposal (PP19/0002) considers the further expansion of the existing Industry Central estate. This proposal includes a mixed use component that could support future retail and commercial land uses and R5 large-lot residential component. This planning proposal also includes rezoning a small parcel of Council owned land which forms part of the Industrial Land Swap initiative (above) and a small area of the site currently being considered for the proposed Wardrop Community Village.*

     * Council first resolved to prepare a planning proposal for the Industrial estate expansion before it resolved to commence design investigations for the Wardrop Community Village project at Lot 1 DP1069561. Should the Wardrop Community Village concept plan be progressed to a development phase, this small overlap will require further investigation.The interrelationship of these planning projects are illustrated on map 2 in the Photos section of this project page.

Questions about the Community Reference Group

    What is a Community Reference Group?

    A group coordinated by council that includes selected community members who provide information, advice and views to council concerning a specific issue or project. Community Reference Groups can enhance Council decision making, and improve engagement between council and the community.

    Do Community Reference Group members get paid?

    No, the Community Reference Group is a voluntary committee and members are not paid.

    How many people are on the Community Reference Group?

    As a public stakeholder expert group, the CRG has demonstrated expertise, skills

    and experience in a field related to the Project.

    Membership of the CRG will consist of (but is not limited to):

    • Up to two Councillors
    • Up to ten community representatives 

    Council staff and non-members may be invited to attend CRG meetings to present or provide specialist advice. Other officers may attend to provide administrative support. Membership of the Committee is voluntary and all members must be over 18 years of age.

    What are the responsibilities of Community Reference Group members?

    Specific responsibilities of members of the CRG will be to:

    • attend six meetings March – June 2020
    • share their relevant experience and knowledge
    • provide feedback and advice on a range of issues related to the project
    • represent the interests and views of the community/sector they represent rather than individual interests

    How can I apply to be on the Community Reference Group?

    To be eligible candidates must complete an Expression of Interest form using the online form on this page and submit it before the due date.   

    What is the selection criteria?

    Candidates for must be able to demonstrate:

    • experience and expertise in sustainable home design and/or eco-village models.
    • experience and expertise in social housing, affordable housing and/or homelessness.
    • represent a particular community/sector relevant to the proposed project.

    In addition, candidates should also:

    • have access to email for all project correspondence.
    • be willing to contribute positively to meetings in a fair and unbiased manner.
    • look beyond personal interests for the benefit of the community.
    • commit to actively support the work of the CRG.
    • commit to the CRG for the required duration.
    • be endorsed by their organisation (if relevant)

    When will I know if I have been successful?

    Successful applicants will be notified by 4pm Tuesday 11 March 2020.

    When are the meetings held?

    The following are the proposed dates/times for meetings. The meeting schedule will be finalised at the first meeting.