Community meets with consultants about LEP

Jenny Hayes is concerned about koala habitat.
Jenny Hayes is concerned about koala habitat. John Gass

DESPITE all the doom and gloom about the Tweed Shire Council draft Local Environment Plan (LEP), community groups were pleased with the results of a meeting with the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on Monday.

About 30 Tweed groups met with the independent consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff to discuss the 1500 community submissions regarding the environment plan.

Team Koala Incorporated president Jenny Hayes said the meeting was very successful, with the Sydney based consultants taking time to talk individually to community representatives.

"The Sydney consultants were stunned to see 1500 submissions and we were happy with how they listened to us," she said.

"To think that 30 groups came together over the LEP. We're not talking about just Greens, we're talking about people all over the shire who want to save the last little bit of bushland in the Tweed."

"It's not going to hurt the development in the Tweed. All we're asking for is the last 1200 hectares if bushland. It's not impeding agriculturally or on development.

Ms Hayes said she desperately wanted to preserve the small number of endangered Koalas left in the shire.

"We've only got about 144 Tweed Coast Koalas left," she said.

When asked if Koala populations had the potential to increase, she was hopeful that if bushland was put aside and restricted from development it may be possible.

"With community goodwill, absolutely. There's a lot of people out there that want the population to grow. I'm confident that they can grow with help from the community," she said.

"In the LEP the environmental protection has gone out the window. All these years of ratepayer money have gone out the window."

"But it was lovely to be listened to and get a fair hearing. I want to be seen that we're not bagging things all the time.

"We just want to save bushland that clearly needs protecting or there will be serious implications for protection of the endangered koalas."

Ms Hayes was adamant the next generation should be able to benefit from the diverse beauty of the Tweed.

"I've had such a beautiful experience growing up here. I used to play 'spot the koala' with my Dad and I really want future generations to have that opportunity," she said.

The Team Koala president said she was hopeful the Sydney consultants would look more closely at the implications of the LEP.

Topics:  tweed shire council

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