Northern Regional Planning Committee rejects $ 39 million Nightcap Village mega-commune

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Plans for a mega-commune promoted by controversial celebrity chef Pete Evans on the NSW north coast have been rejected by planning authorities.

Nightcap Village’s “rural land-sharing community” sought to create nearly 400 housing plots on 1,500 hectares of rural land near the foot of Wollumbin-Mt Warning in the Tweed Shire.

The project was offered with a hefty price tag of $ 39.8 million for the first stage of 12 stages, which would have involved only “relatively minor works” related to internal roads.

The developers had sought a financial investment in the project, with the help of Evans, who had created the Nightcap Village.

“The philosophy or ethics is do no harm,” he said in a promotional video. “It’s a really good fucking philosophy.”

Evans was recently fined over $ 100,000 by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for repeated violations of health product advertising rules, one of which he said could be used in connection with the coronavirus.

Nightcap Village’s website says it is in a “long-term business arrangement” with the developers of the project.

The Tweed Shire Council planned to deny the development request, but a cost review made the Northern Regional Planning Panel the approval authority.

Reported environmental, legal and safety issues

After a two-and-a-half-hour hearing on Wednesday afternoon, the panel announced that it had reached a unanimous decision to deny the request.

President Paul Mitchell said they were not convinced the proposal was permitted under state environmental planning policy (SEPP).

The policy covers a range of issues including water and waste management, bushfire management, density of development and environmental factors.

The panel heard that authorities have reported a number of environmental, legal and safety issues with the concept of phased development application.

A Tweed Shire Council report submitted to the commission – recommending that the project be refused – found that it would “have a significant impact on natural and environmentally sensitive areas, cultural heritage, areas of high ecological value and habitat. koala ‘.

Aerial shots of proposed Nightcap village that were part of Tweed Shire Council report to Northern Regional Planning Panel. (Provided: Tweed Shire Council)

“(This) would require extensive clearing of approximately 106 hectares of native vegetation with an additional 220 hectares impact on native populations,” an assessment of biodiversity and habitat management from the Ministry of Planning, Industry and Environment was found.

The site has also been identified as prone to bushfires and the NSW Rural Fire Service has said based on current information that it “cannot support the concept plan.”

During the public bids, a number of residents spoke out against the development, expressing concerns about the environmental and health impacts of nearly 400 “off-grid” homes without a central power, sewer or water system. .

There were also concerns about land clearing, degradation of communal roads and an “ambiguous land ownership structure”.

The Nightcap Village website promotes the community as a way to “return to the tribal wisdom of living in harmony with Mother Nature as well as the fundamental tradition of Doing No Harm”.

arm holding a photo of inside a cabin
Design plans from a Nightcap Village promotional video.(Provided: Youtube)


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