Unique jetty development approved

By Robert Muir

An approved development application for an 11-Lot Community Title Subdivision with five jetties in Mulwala is expected to be completed by this year’s spring season.  

The proposal at 29-31 Corowa Road and 57 Lang Street Mulwala was unanimously approved, subject to 50 conditions, at Federation Council’s monthly meeting on March 17.

The application was exhibited from July 17 to August 14 last year. Seven objections were received. Additional information was requested from the applicant which was obtained and forwarded to objectors and agencies in December.

“Obviously, council’s decision is very pleasing and I thank Susan, Kate and Chris (council planning staff Susan Appleyard, Kate Larnach and Chris Nevins) who have done a terrific job, I thank council and councillors,” property owner and developer Bob Kay told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

The development was described by Mr Kay as an “interesting residential outside the square”. 

“It’s unique,” he said. 

“It’s got 10 parcels of land where each one of them will have waterfront ownership. Everyone of those lots will have a dedicated boat berth attached to their title and their sole use.

“It’s in keeping with what Mulwala has got here. They’re good size allotments and Lang Street is arguably one of the better streets in town. Where can you get 1400sqm lots near the water?”

The Kays lived over the road from the development for 13 years. “Often I looked at the property and thought ‘this is what could happen to it’. It was no flash in the pan. I thought about it over the years,” he said. 

Fifty conditions attached to the “potentially $4 million to $5 million” project approval were acknowledged as a lot by Mr Kay. However, he said: “They’re not arduous.” 

The question as to the definition of the waterfront area was raised by Federation Council resident Robert Pearce of Corowa. Before council’s decision, he addressed council for five minutes.

He said he had no problem with the Corowa Road address development but did with the waterfront project part at Lang Street, claiming the project was a marina and therefore prohibited, and as such was not in the public’s interests, would be hazardous for swimmers and concerns with boats left at the water’s edge.

Speaking for five minutes in favour of the development was Andrew Mott of North East Survey Design Yarrawonga who was accompanied by Habitat Planning Albury’s David Hunter.

Mr Mott emphasized there will be no long-term storage of boats, particularly in view of weather extremes and consequential damage to boats, and that it will not be a marina.

He said all concerns raised by objectors have been addressed, which included relocation of jetties, and the redesign or moorings to remove impact on neighbouring properties. 

Mr Kay accepted the development may have been considered a marina. “But no, it’s definitely not now. It’s purely five jetties,” he said.    

In her 23-page report for Federation Council’s decision, council’s director development and environmental services Sussan Appleyard said if the definition used to assess the application has made the application a Marina, the application would have been designate development under Murray Region Environmental Plan No.2 – River Murray, and prohibited.

“However, the definitions from the relevant planning instruments define the development as jetties and not a marina,” Ms Appleyard said.  

Cr David Longley said if there’s approval for any development along the Murray River, someone always objects. 

He said the project will create jobs and the objections raised have been addressed to his satisfaction. Cr Longley moved the motion for the project’s approval, which was seconded by Deputy Mayor Shaun Whitechurch.

“All the objections were taken on board and addressed,” Cr Whitechurch said. The D/A has gone through a very stringent process.”    

Most of the site, in Corowa Road, was the former 1972-established Hargreaves Caravan Park which had 70 power sites for caravans, campers and motorhomes and formally closed in 2019.

The park was owned by Bill and Chris Hargreaves. Their daughter, Debbie Baldwin, spoke of the love her parents had for the park.

“It was a dream enterprise they achieved. It worked well for them,” Debbie told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.

“A family member suggested they buy the land, and they bought the foreshore land from Mrs Gladys Evans.

“Mum and Dad put a couple of wheat crops in to control the weeds and level out the land on our farm ‘Hygeia’ (half way to Savernake) and they used the food for their chooks at the caravan park. Dad was active in farming and in tourism – he was a member of the Murray Development League, was a councillor on the old Corowa Shire Council and attended a lot of meetings.”

On the question of the sites’ new uses by Mr Kay, Debbie said: “Time’s change. It’s their dream now.”