Thurgoona commercial sub-division gets the go ahead from Albury Council 5-4

A LAST-ditch attempt to include more open space in a major commercial sub-division in Thurgoona has bombed at Albury Council.

Deputy mayor Amanda Cohn wanted to put the development application, which will require the razing of 250 trees on the corner of Table Top Road and Thurgoona Drive, on hold pending further talks with developers behind the proposal, Glenn McCabe and John Mee, who bought the site nearly a decade ago.

Cr Cohn’s amendment was defeated 5-4 with support coming from only mayor Kevin Mack, Cr David Thurley and Cr John Stuchbery.

“I accept this site is going to be commercial development in the long run, but it was meant to be a meeting place for the community and not a big box commercial development,” she said.

“At what point do we put our foot down and actually give the community what we promised them in our plans?

“We can’t keep making compromises block by block until we end up with a concrete jungle.”

An Aboriginal heritage construction exclusion zone will be created on the site along with two drainage basins to also serve as habitat for Sloane’s froglet.

Planning director Michael Keys said a condition of consent was a landscape master-plan for the entire site which would identify public open space.

“In the context of the location of the site given the Thurgoona Recreation Reserve to the north and access from this land to that, plus other open space in and around the area, it has been considered the outcomes provided will achieve the desirable outcomes originally envisaged as part of the (Thurgoona-Wirlinga) precinct structure plan,” he said.

Mr Keys estimated there could be between 2500 to 3000 square metres available for public open space on the site which doesn’t include the Sloane’s froglet habitat or Aboriginal protection zone.

Cr Cohn didn’t quantify additional space she sought.

“I am putting my foot down on one issue. I don’t think a tiny grassed area between the road and stormwater retention basin provides quality amenity for the public.”

Cr Alice Glachan said there was no reason for council to make a further delay in determining the application.

“It is not possible for one developer to ensure public open space for that entire Thurgoona area,” she said.

“It is an appropriate development in an area earmarked for such a development for a very long period.”