Wollongong City Council has made clear its stance on Skydive the Beach’s operations in Stuart Park, writing to the Land and Environment Court to re-grant approval for the company’s administration building.
In a 102-page document, planning director Andrew Carfield officially signed off the council’s decision over the plans, which have been in the works for at least the past seven years.
The latest review of the plans was ordered by the court due to a technicality related to the demolition of two ageing public amenities blocks, and has reignited public debate over the company’s use of the park.
Approving the plans, Mr Carfield said an independent hearing had uncovered “no compelling reason why the existing public amenities should not be demolished, nor are there considered tpo be any new maters raised that would warrant refusal”.
The council said it was now “awaiting receipt of mutually convenient dates to all parties to have the matter relisted” in court, where a final decision will be made.
Meantime, fresh support for the tourism juggernaut sprung up this week, with young Wollongong businessman Adam Murphy beginning an online petition.
Signed by 435 people on Friday, the petition highlighted economic benefits of the company and attacked a “minority” of residents opposed to its use of the park.
Mr Murphy – who said he had no financial interests in Skydive – said the residents were “citing a scattergun of flimsy, self-interested reasons as to why councils should step in and not allow their operation to continue”.
“The majority of people support Skydive the beach – not just as a company, but as an example of the positive contribution a business can make,” he wrote.
Councillor Vicki Curran, who jointly led the charge to delay a decision on the skydiving building due to concerns councillors did not have enough information, said public support for the company was “not the point”.
“This is not an issue about whether we like Skydive or don’t like Skydive,” she said.
“It’s about the legal processes that have happened and the manner in which the council operates.”
Cr Curran, who formed a new residents group called Residents for Democracy after debate was shut down at Monday’s fiery council meeting, said she was “aware of more action” which may be taken over the company’s use of the park.