Meeting bags proposed commune

Tweed Daily News, Australia/January 24, 2007
By Peter Caton

Burringbar residents packed into the village public hall on Monday night voicing concerns about a communal development associated with a mysterious group which offers courses in "universal knowledge."

Hunter Street resident Warren Hayden, whose home would be next to a proposed 10-lot communal subdivision, said a big turnout of resi-dents in the sleepy semi-rural district "raised all sorts of concerns."

Some supporters of self-styled guru Natasha Lakaev, who is one of the developers, also turned up and yesterday one hit back, describing Ms Lakaev as an upstanding member of the community and accusing some of her opponents of "using illegal substances."

In an email to the Daily News Andrea McSherry defended Ms Lakaev – founder of Universal Knowledge Pty Ltd and its Omaroo seminar centre at the end of Hunter Street – saying she was "generous with donations to the school and assisting in building structures for the town."

Mr Hayden said while some residents remained concerned at the activities of the group, the meeting voiced a range of environmental and technical object-ions to the subdivision.

These included concerns about the need for buffer zones between planned roads and existing homes, traffic flow and a proposed loop road linking Hunter Street and Waranga Crescent required by bushfire regulations.

"People are concerned at the fact we all bought in to cul-de- sacs," he said.

"The planned roads are also of insufficient width according to the Bushfire Protection Plan."

Mr Hayden said when Ms Lakaev originally received council approval in the mid 1990s for her seminar centre on an adjacent block residents had expressed concerns her group "was going to expand and buy up properties."

They had now done so and wished to subdivide them, he said.

Ms Lakaev has been unavailable for comment.

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