Koreelah debates village proposal

A NEW 21-home community could spring up at Koreelah, in the north of Tenterfield Shire, if council and national parks approvals are granted.

Tenterfield Shire councillors will visit Koreelah in the next month to take a look at the 328 hectare site which is largely surrounded by national park.

The “rural land sharing community” to be known as Bindarrabi Co-operative Village would be a not-for-profit development with an emphasis on sustainability, with each household buying a share in the village, agreeing to its constitution and building their own house.

The project – the brainchild of property owners Carol Shantal and Doone Wyborn – has drawn 12 objections.

Koreelah resident Andrew Peterson, who said his family had farmed the area for 90 years, spoke at the July council meeting against the proposal.

“I believe most people would consider 21 houses a small village,” Mr Peterson said.

“With that comes the problems of roads, water and sewerage.”

Submissions to council included concerns about an increase in traffic, waste production, fire danger, dust and loss of quality of life, with one submission claiming the development would “result in radical change to character and amenity of the area”.

Neighbouring residents also expressed concerns that each house might not have separate rates bills. Council’s engineering director Dennis Gascoigne said this would not be the case.

Property co-owner Carol Shantal also made a presentation to council, describing Bindarrabi as a “small project” with integral ecology at the “crux” of the community.

Ms Shantal described integral ecology as recognising “all life exists as an integral system from the tiniest microbes in the soil to all plant life, to creatures, to the planet itself”.

The community will have solar power, composting toilets and use permaculture and organic principles in producing its own food.

She said they would look at having members trained in fire safety.

Mr Gascoigne reminded councillors they had identified the northern area of the shire as a growth corridor, and if they wanted growth, they would need to look at proposals that increased population density.

Cr Blair Maxwell said he “loved” the idea.

“I think it’s great,” he said. 

Council’s town planner Tamai Davidson told council the proposal had been through a “long and thorough process”.

She said she had recommended a deferred consent pending access approval by national parks, which was critical to the project.

Cr Mike Petrie said he did not want to approve the project without taking a look at the site, and councillors voted to visit the property before the next council meeting in August.

Ms Shantal said they were happy with the result and the feedback had been “basically favourable”.

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