Penny takes a shot at councilshot at council

IT is a world full of contradictions for tourist operator James Penny.

Giving evidence on the sixth day of the inquiry into the Tweed Shire Council yesterday, Mr Penny slammed council staff over delays on his Carool development, calling a former council manager a "prima donna".

Owner of Penny Ridge Resort at Carool, he said delays by council officers putting up "smoke screens" around his property had been so frustrating they "blew his brain" at one stage.

"We lost so many builders in this area because of the delays by council," he ranted.

"The internal council don't listen to the councillors.

"If they had total jurisdiction I would hate to see the area."

Red-faced and pumping his fist, Mr Penny had to be toned down by officer assisting the inquiry Angus Broad on more than one occasion.

"Rather than giving me largesse Mr Penny, I am trying to get the facts. I am not going to argue, sir," Mr Broad said.

Smiling, Mr Penny calmed for a moment to land the surprise news that despite his rantings he was happy with the council and that it should not be sacked.

"Today I'm happy," he said, only to add minutes later, "I never said once I was happy with council, I am

happy with my situation."

Outside the inquiry, he grinned as Cr Bob Brinsmead egged him on.

"I've been around long enough to cope with that," Mr Penny said of the inquiry's hotter moments.

He then proceeded to savage the process, saying there was no need for an inquiry when councillors were doing a good job already.

"The Labor Party want to control the area and get donations for their own party," he said.

"It is politically-motivated.

"The council is in a position with new staff to go forward, not being allowed to do that is definitely a disaster for the area."

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