Ambitious Seahorse Inn developer Bruce Lyons sent a delegate to meet with council yesterday to push his case to develop Boydtown into a township larger than Pambula Beach.
While Mr Lyons says Eden would remain the main goods and services centre for Twofold Bay, his proposed 70 hectares of mixed use commercial space is more than twice the size of Eden’s at 30 hectares.
The development includes an approved marina and dry dock that could cater for 500 yachts, 800 dwellings, shops and a light industrial centre and accommodation on the western side of the Princes Highway.
Mr Lyons is seeking a determination of native title on 32 hectares of the Tasman Sea east of Boydtown in relation to the marina.
Potential claimants have until Christmas Eve to register their rights and interests, otherwise the area may become exempt from future claims.
Boydtown planning consultant Stephen McMahon has said the marina doesn’t have the support necessary - via the zoning plan - for it to proceed at this stage.
Council staff have presented a case to reject much of proposal, and councillors have deferred their judgment to more closely examine the master plan.
Following the meeting Mr McMahon said council was “receptive as always”.
“It’s a big project and I think everyone is grappling with the history and the ambitiousness of it,” he said.
“That was the purpose of today – an opportunity to address those concerns.”
He added that any development on the land would protect the history of the area, including the church.
“We’ll protect it of course – it’s part of the character,” he said.
“There’s a lot of history around Ben Boyd’s vision for the land.”
Staff's recommendations for zoning at Boydtown include B4 for mixed use, a zoning reserved for just three town centres in the shire, however not in the scale proposed by developer Bruce Lyons.
That history may also involve Indigenous heritage, and while Mr McMahon said native title claims were yet to be raised and “not an issue as it’s freehold land”, any historic artefacts would also be protected.
“I’d be surprised if there isn’t any Indigenous heritage there, and we will deal with it and protect it as it comes up.”
Lyons’ development dreams span 25 years and include a variety of development applications, master plans and proposals.
Of this newest master plan Mr Lyons proposes rezoning of 70 hectares to B4, for mixed use developments.
Currently the shire has only 79 hectares of such zoning, in central business districts at Eden, Merimbula and Bega.
He also wishes to raise building height limits in tourism and multi-use zones from the current 10 metres to 16.5 metres.
Until council decides the matter, Mr Lyons has asked for a clause to be removed from current residential zoning to allow for “investment and development to proceed while the new zones for the whole of the Boydtown area are being considered.”
Boydtown was once pegged by founder and Scottish entrepreneur Benjamin Boyd to be a city to rival the ports of Sydney and Melbourne.