Council to repurchase Chinderah marina land

AFTER eight years of court battle and protests, the Tweed Shire Council has moved to buy back riverfront Chinderah land slated for a marina development.

Back in 2000 council approved a 29-berth marina on the Tweed River, and in 2005 sold the land to the developer to help facilitate the construction.

A council spokeswoman said the contract of sale provided an option for council to the land back in the event the marina did not proceed on time.

"Subsequent to the initial decision, ownership changed hands on more than one occasion," the spokeswoman said.

"As a consequence of that, and court challenges to a proposed larger marina, council had granted a number of extensions.

"The most recent extension related to the potential purchase by a Hutchinson Builders company. Construction of the marina had not commenced within the necessary time frame and, as such, council has commenced the process of buying back the land in accordance with the original terms of the contract."

The spokeswoman said the buy-back would not leave ratepayers out of pocket, as the council would pay the same amount for the land as it originally sold it for.

In 2006, the New South Wales Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor, approved the expansion of the marina to 115-berths, to the dismay of Tweed residents.

A strongly supported protest group led by Fingal resident Katie Milne took the issue to the Land and Environment court, and in March 2007, Justice Jayne Jagot ruled the planned 115-berth marina development would have adverse social, economic, environmental and visual effects on the town, and should not go ahead.

However, Justice Jagot ruled the original 29-berth marina could go ahead.

Ms Milne could not be contacted yesterday.

In another nail in the marina's coffin, the Federal Court ruled in February this year that native title would remain in place over the Tweed River bed after the owners of the land, Rivercolt, failed in a court bid to have it lifted.

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