ATTEMPTS from George Weily Place residents to change the access to the Orchard fell on deaf ears at the Orange City Council meeting on Tuesday night.
Alison Ferguson said she met with Housing Plus chief executive David Fisher on February 4 to discuss moving the access to the Northern Distributor Road to address traffic and security concerns.
"He stated he would be happy with a change to the access if brought forward by Orange City Council," she said.
"Currently, the council [development control plan] does show an entrance off the NDR, which was recorded since 2004 and with some modifications, would make an easier access."
Alex Irwin said not having road access to George Weily Place would not section off the Orchard from the community because it would be surrounded by a subdivision and clients would be able to access Coogal Park and the wetlands.
Craig Guyer suggested not closing off a pathway between 14 and 16 George Weily Place, as suggested by planners.
"This would then give the victims a connection to George Weily Place and the greater community that Housing Plus want to achieve, if only by pedestrian access," he said.
Laurian Ginns said if Housing Plus compromised, the proposal would be unopposed and residents would feel respected.
Mr Fisher acknowledged when he met with residents, an alternative made sense, but stood by the original plans after the implications were investigated.
Every one of [the other options] will create a small, isolated community bounded by the NDR and Escort Way, with fences all around it, that's not a healthy community for west Orange.Housing Plus CEO David Fisher
"Every one of [the other options] will create a small, isolated community bounded by the NDR and Escort Way, with fences all around it, that's not a healthy community for west Orange," he said.
Although an peer review of the council's assessment was completed, Sharna Glover said the council had sold the land to Housing Plus for a nominal fee and questioned whether it was appropriate for the council to approve the development considering it owned the land.
"The probity of the process is deeply concerning," she said.
Margot Benson spoke of her experience leaving a domestic violence relationship 10 years ago when she managed to take her child and the limited possessions she could manage and seek refuge in a flat above a shop.
"The mattress I was sleeping on had been eaten out by mice, that's the situation I was faced with," she said.
"I don't want that for anyone else."
Meanwhile, Wendy Mason and Kath Logan berated the four councillors who left the room - Glenn Taylor, Kevin Duffy, Scott Munro and Sam Romano - and abstained from the first vote two weeks ago.
Ms Mason said the councillors were briefed enough on the matter to decide they didn't want the project to be approved in its current form.
"Instead of actually making that decision, they walked out of the chamber and did so in a manner to completely disrupt the meeting and make a mockery of the approval process," she said.
Although the council's code of conduct allows councillors to abstain from voting, Ms Mason said it also asked councillors to consider issues promptly and fairly and take all relevant facts on board.
"If councillors don't do as the job requires, they should step down and let members of the community who will take it seriously to stand instead," she said.
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