Bega Valley Shire Council mayor, Russell Fitzpatrick has responded to accusations against council made by developers of the Sapphire of Eden hotel complex.
John Palasty, group advisor at Core Asset Development (CAD) informed Australian Community Media on September 21, that plans for Sapphire Eden had been held up and eventually scrapped due to approval delays by the council.
In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Cr Fitzpatrick defended council's handling of the application.
"Council has been supportive of these two developments since their inception," he said.
"Staff has prioritised both of the original development applications, and are currently reviewing the modification for the Sapphire of Eden and the second development application for the Hotel Australasia."
Cr Fitzpatrick said council had clearly communicated the reasons for delays which included significant increase in development applications, coupled with a shortage of planners, which had affected their turnaround times on all DAs.
"We lost 467 homes in the Black Summer bushfires and rebuilding following such a traumatic experience takes time," he said.
Cr Fitzpatrick said there had also been an "unprecedented increase in development in the shire" which ranged from parents looking to build a family home, to older people looking to downsize, new people moving to the area, to "property developers looking to put the shire on the map".
"While we greatly appreciate the interest in our shire by developers, we also need to balance the interests of the mums and dads, older people, and other smaller scale but still important development," he said.
Cr Fitzpatrick said the delays and challenges they were experiencing were being faced by many councils across NSW.
Meanwhile Mr Palasty from CAD said he was concerned for those who had invested in the a five-star hotel along with residential units and were living in rented accommodation waiting for the units to be completed. They were due to be started last year "and probably won't until next year", he said.
"We will put in a new DA; it will be three towers only with a total of 121 units," he said.
Mr Palasty said 30 units had been sold with "contracts exchanged and the money in real estate trust funds".
The development remains in the balance over the issue of a roundabout at the junction of Chandos and Imlay St. Council believes the roundabout will be needed and has indicated it was happy to consider how it and CAD can provide it.
CAD previously threatened to halt all work on the development in May 2022 complaining of council delays and "misleading conduct" - claims the council "vehemently rejects".
Mr Palasty said he had offered council $100,000 to investigate the design of the roundabout in return for a construction certificate so work can commence on the site. But it appears agreement cannot be reached.
It is one of three issues for CAD in relation to council currently with the Land and Environment Court.
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