Eden Cattle Bay Marina Pty Ltd and Bega Valley Shire Council have been ordered to attend a conciliation conference in the NSW Land and Environment Court – but not until March next year.
If conciliation fails when the two parties meet on March 26, 2018, in Sydney, the court will reconvene on April 9 to set a hearing date.
The matter was listed before Land and Environment Court assistant registrar Maria Anastasi in Sydney on Monday, where the timetable was mapped out.
The dispute between the developer and the council which led to the court action centres on sewerage.
Eden Cattle Bay Marina initiated the court action after the council failed to respond to its application to vary its DA within the specified time frame of 60 days.
But now it claims the prolonged court process could significantly delay its plans to build a 154-berth marina, which is the first stage of a development that also includes a resort hotel, conference centre, restaurants and residential housing.
“The cost and delay of the matter needing to proceed through the Land and Environment Court is unnecessary,” the marina’s spokesman Bob Carter said following Monday’s directions hearing.
“While Eden Cattle Bay Marina’s lawyers have been moving the matter quickly through the court process, it is conceivable that the matter could take up to a year to be finally determined, if the matter does not resolve in the conciliation phase.
“Eden Cattle Bay Marina views the need to go to a deemed refusal appeal as very unfortunate given the merits of the modification application and the benefits that the marina will have for Eden and the continuity of the project itself,” he said.
Mr Carter said BVSC had wanted the developer to pay a “large” sum of money to upgrade the sewerage, even though it was adequate for the former tuna cannery.
Instead of paying the sewerage contribution to council, the developer sought approval to build an on-site sewerage holding tank which would be periodically emptied.
This proposed method of effluent disposal differed to the original DA approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel in December 2015.
After the hearing a BVSC spokesman said: “Council fully respects the Land and Environment Court process and the confidential nature of such a conference and is comfortable with the outcome of Monday’s directions hearing.”