By PETER CATON
A WIN for the people ? that's how the NSW Government's decision to force developers of a prime coastal site at South Kingscliff to build a planned road further to the west has been described by some local residents.
Last week NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly finally squashed Tweed Shire Council plans for the road to go through the heart of the crown land known as Lot 490.
Those plans had been favoured by developer of the Salt resort township immediately south, the Ray Group, which has also expressed interest in tourism development on Lot 490.
Community protests led to the government taking back control of Lot 490 which it had been willing to allow the council to develop for leasehold tourism use to fund maintenance of other public land along the coast.
The government appointed a steering committee which recommended a new road linking the Cudgen Creek bridge and Salt development should go further west. Late last week Mr Kelly endorsed the recommendation but said the plan would be advertised for further public comment before a final decision is made.
Member of the steering committee and Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce president Rose Wright described the govern- ment's decision as "a win for the people".
So did Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association president Peter Gladwin, who added that other recommendations for much of the land on the coastal side of the new road to be set aside for public recreation and public access to the beach were "a wonderful victory".
Mr Gladwin said members of his association were waiting for a detailed briefing on the recommendations at a meeting tonight.
Ms Wright said the steering committee had pushed the road as far west as possible, with revegetation planned alongside Cudgen Creek, to allow for beach access, car parking, recreational space and 120 to 150 "family-affordable" cabins.
She said public meetings to outline the proposals would be held in the next few weeks and detailed displays set up so the community could make further submissions before the government made a final decision on development of the site early next year.
In announcing his "in-principle" endorsement of the proposals, Mr Kelly hit out at Tweed Shire Council for not requiring the developers of Salt and Casuarina Beach further south to make contributions towards the new road and a new bridge across Cudgen Creek.
Mr Kelly has now referred that issue to the Department of Infrastructure and Planning and the Department of Local Government.
Mayor Warren Polglase said Tweed had led the way in collecting funds from developers for infrastructure, and the developers of Casuarina Beach had paid for a new bridge further south, along with the upgrading of the Coast Road, formerly Old Bogangar Road.
He said the proposed road had been moved a mere 50 metres further west, which he saw as a virtual endorsement of the original plan.
"Fifty metres is neither here nor there," he said, adding that he hoped development of tourist facilities on Lot 490 would now "move forward".
A spokesperson for developers the Ray Group could not be reached.