INXS museum, new subdivision on list of paused projects

TWO of Ballina Shire Council's biggest projects have been put on hold in an effort to free up millions of dollars and ease the economic losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made in light of the substantial economic downturn impacting the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and the council's commercial property developments.

At this week's commercial services committee meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to put the development of stage three of the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area on hold for three to six months.

The final stage of this development involves the construction of 30 residential lots and one lot for a childcare centre.

A property development report revealed a 10 per cent reduction in sales would result in the net return on development costs reducing from $4.8 million to $3.84 million.

"The major concern with the development is the debt required to finance the project, which when combined with the other projects underway, becomes substantial," the report stated.

"If the forecast sales are reduced by 20 per cent, and the childcare site is removed, the return on funds applied reduces to $467,000 and a return of 8 per cent.

"If council decides to retain the proposed childcare site, the net return reduces from $4.8m or $3.84m to $2.8m."

Councillors further decided to halt the Southern Cross Innovation Precinct project, which included the proposed INXS museum.

The rezoning of this precinct will continue while the project is on hold.

The decision was also made to transfer the $3.95m in State Government grant funding for the innovation hub to the Airport Boulevard, due to a completion estimate increasing substantially from $7 million to $12 million.

"As per the other proposals the other major concern with the development is the

$6.3m debt required to finance the project," the report stated.