The developer planning to build dual occupancy units on the Southlakes park is “exercising their right to develop the land”, says Dubbo Regional mayor Ben Shields.
Plans have been submitted to Dubbo Regional Council to construct eight dual occupancy units on the Boundary Road side of the park, near the fountain.
Neighbours have objected to the development because it takes land away from the popular park, which is used by neighbouring houses and the wider community.
However, Cr Shields said the land was zoned as residential.
“Personally, I would like to see the land remain as part of the park but the subdivision design and zoning were approved years ago, the only change is that developers are choosing to exercise their right to develop the land. Council’s only real role going forward is in ensuring that the development is compliant,” he said.
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The mayor said the park was designed by the developer of the day around the residential land.
“The developers of Southlakes have included a substantial amount of open space parklands, more than two-and-a-half times the required amount, which means even when this particular block is developed the nearby residents will still have plenty of parks to enjoy,” Cr Shields said.
Southlakes resident Mandy Turner said a poll on the Southlakes residents’ Facebook group had 100 votes against the proposed idea.
“My family frequently use this park and there are always so many people enjoying the space that it would be a disservice to residents and the local community if the proposed development was to proceed,” Ms Turner said.
Concerns have also been raised about the development blocking off the walking path through the park and that the fountain will be turned off because of the close proximity of the units.
But the land in question is privately owned.
“Council did look at the option to purchase the land but it would be at market rate, a substantial amount of money that would be difficult to justify to the wider community,” Cr Shields said.