Mayor attacks new probe

A TWEED residents' group which specifically complained about the way townplanning matters are handled has welcomed the latest inquiry into Tweed Shire Council.

The Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association was one of a number of groups which lodged submissions with the public inquiry headed by Professor Maurice Daly raising concerns about so-called "serial amendments" to development approvals.

Late last week NSW Planning Minister Craig Knowles announced that following advice from Commissioner Daly ? who is still preparing his report on the Council ? a high-level internal inquiry by the Department of Local Government deputy director general Ross Woodward would investigate the way planning matters have been handled.

Mr Knowles warned that inquiry may result in the appointment of a planning administrator.

Kingscliff Ratepayers president Peter Gladwin yesterday welcomed the move with one proviso. He hopes it will be the last inquiry for a long while.

"This is the fourth inquiry into the Council," he said referring to:

o?the 1990 ICAC inquiry into North Coast land deals and the once-mooted Ocean Blue development at Fingal;

o?the 2002 inquiry headed by Local Government Department investigator Robert Bulford into planning for the Kings Forest and Seaside City develop- ments near Kingscliff; and

o?the 2005 "Royal Commission-style inquiry" chaired by Professor Daly.

Mr Gladwin said the succession of inquiries showed Tweed Shire Council had "a systemic problem - a problem that ain't going away".

He said developers had too often got approval for contentious developments then used the amendment system for even more contentious plans.

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