COMPROMISE REACHED: Colin and Monica Roebuck's long battle with Livingstone Shire Council is now finally over.
COMPROMISE REACHED: Colin and Monica Roebuck's long battle with Livingstone Shire Council is now finally over.

Controversial coast development finally given go-ahead

BUNGUNDARRA developers Colin and Monica Roebuck are finally smoking the peace pipe with Livingstone Shire Council.

Mr Roebuck made another visit to council chambers on Tuesday in a bid to reach a compromise on conditions imposed on the couple's controversial subdivision application, which was approved by Livingstone in September.

As was previously reported, the Roebuck's battle to jump through council hoops so that they could develop a six-lot subdivision on Bungundarra Road, started more than three years ago.

While they got the green light from the council in September, the Roebuck's ­approved development application was subject to to-be-determined conditions.

And it was on those conditions - mainly to do with an environmental covenant and related vegetation clearing - the Roebucks sought compromise.

On Tuesday they got it, effectively ending the long-running saga.

Sitting in the public gallery, Mr Roebuck was clearly relieved when councillors decided in the couple's favour.

As fate would have it, council officers, who'd been at loggerheads with the Roebucks throughout the entire process, were credited for their behind-the-scenes work that aided compromise.

In a further twist on Tuesday, all councillors remained at the table while this matter was discussed and voted on, with the exception of Mayor Bill Ludwig who declared a potential conflict of interest as he had personally used the same surveying company as the Roebucks.

This may have initially confused some of the onlookers in the public gallery as the last time the matter was tabled in October, five councillors (Pat Eastwood, Tom Wyatt, Adam Belot, Glenda Mather and Cr Ludwig) withdrew their involvement citing possible conflicts.

Crs Eastwood, Wyatt, Belot and Mather were being investigated over their handling of the process but it was Cr Belot who revealed towards the end of Tuesday's discussions that all had been cleared of any wrongdoing.

"(There was) an assumption that we had a conflict of interest and yet we're still here," Cr Belot told the meeting.

"I believe we do need to be more transparent and accountable to the public, so that they are aware of the circumstances (that) led us to that original (perceived) conflict.

"In fact, we don't have a conflict.

"I've had members of the public asking me - 'why did you have to leave (the previous meeting), what went on?'"

As Cr Belot tried to ­elaborate on the circumstances he was stopped by acting mayor Nigel Hutton who said: "While I understand your ­desire to have on the public ­record your opinion and basis for your previous decision, make sure you're speaking to today's motion.

"There's plenty of ­opportunity with our friends from the media to, in other forms, provide that same information to the public, but now is the time to speak to this motion."

Cr Belot responded: "We owe it to the public to be transparent and accountable to them, and I'm happy to do that at a later stage."

After the meeting, Mr Roebuck said he was happy with the outcome.