Riverina Recovery Home developers to appeal council ruling in NSW Land and Environment Court

BACK IN FOCUS: The NSW Land and Environment Court will hear an appeal for a development application ruling over the 199 Gurwood Street property.
BACK IN FOCUS: The NSW Land and Environment Court will hear an appeal for a development application ruling over the 199 Gurwood Street property.

A controversial plan for a drug rehabilitation facility in central Wagga is headed for the NSW Land and Environment Court after being narrowly voted down by council in July.

Riverina Recovery Home developer Debbie Cox told The Daily Advertiser on Monday, November 13, that an appeal had been lodged to the Land and Environment Court on council’s decision to refuse the development application.

Ms Cox said the appeal would take place before January 2018.

The Riverina Recovery House development was first pitched in 2015 and received mixed reviews from residents in neighbouring properties.

Many thought the issue had been put to rest after deputy mayor Dallas Tout successfully moved a motion to reject plans for the 199 Gurwood Street property.

During the meeting, Cr Tout said a recovery facility for drug addicts would “not keep with the amenity of the locality”.

He alongside councillors Yvonne Braid, Paul Funnell and Tim Koschel voted against the proposal, defeating mayor Greg Conkey and councillors Dan Hayes and Vanessa Keenan, who voted in favour of the proposal (councillors Rod Kendall and Kerry Pascoe did not participate in the vote due to a conflict of interest).

However a favourable ruling could once again see the 12-bedroom, privately-run recovery house take pride of place at the corner of Gurwood and Gossett streets.

Cr Keenan said she was supportive of the development’s fourth attempt at lift-off.

“My interpretation of the development was that there was no reason to deny it and certainly not from a planning perspective,” she said.

“To my understanding, there’s a huge amount of demand for these facilities and having a private operator could aid in reducing that burden.”

Cr Keenan said the Riverina Recovery House was an inherently “positive” idea but conceded prices could be a factor in private operation.

Other councillors, including Paul Funnell, remain unconvinced.

“This issue has been before council twice now and the people have spoken but now these developers are choosing the legal pathway,” Cr Funnell said.

“I can’t say anything regarding it as a legal matter but in my opinion it’s over and this issue is done

“Sometime you just need to take your bat and your ball and go home.”