Bug farmers give thanks

KINGSCLIFF and Chinderah residents, as well as Tweed Shire Council, have been publicly thanked for their support for a Moreton Bay bug farm to be built next door to Melaleuca Station on the Tweed Valley Way.

The $40million project which could create employment for 200 people after six years, according to the company behind the venture, was given the go-ahead by the NSW Government late last week.

That was despite earlier concerns from some local people that it could worsen flooding on the Chinderah stretch of the Tweed River and escaping salt water could poison surrounding caneland.

Under the proposal, fresh sea water will be pumped from Kingscliff Beach to the site to breed and grow Moreton Bay bugs which are also called Australian bay lobsters.

Australian Bay Lobster Producers Pty Ltd managing director Michael Dalton has moved to publicly thank those who supported the project.

Mr Dalton says it will be "the first commercial scale lobster cultivation facility in the world".

He said he wanted to thank NSW Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, Craig Knowles, Mr Newell, Mr Trevor Wilson, government staff and the Tweed Shire Council "for their input and support, without which we would not have been able to progress the project".

"I very much appreciate the assistance received from the local community, in particular the Kingscliff and District Chamber of Commerce, the Kingscliff Progress and Ratepayers Association and the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council," he added.

Mr Dalton said his company would now seek to "progress this important development by working closely with the local community, the Tweed Shire Council and the various NSW state government departments".

Last year when the project was proposed a public meeting of local people fiercely opposed it, with some local landholders expressing concern about the effects of any flooding of the site. Several spokespeople involved then could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Some since-sacked Tweed Shire councillors also vowed to fight the project.

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