Precinct debate fires up

CONTROVERSY over redevelopment of the most run down part of Murwillumbah has resurfaced with a Tweed Shire Council candidate calling for a comprehensive overhaul of town planning rules dealing with the South Murwillumbah precinct.

Earlier this year the council administrators ditched plans to allow up to six-storey development in the flood-prone area after often fierce public debate over its redevelopment.

Planning consultants employed by the council had suggested six storeys including ground level car parking and retailing with apartments above, but a number of town residents including conservationists said the mini towers would not be in keeping with the country town image of Murwillumbah.

Council candidate Barry Longland, who heads the Tweed Community First team for the September 13 election, yesterday called for a comprehensive planning overhaul for the South Murwillumbah precinct.

"I think this part of our town has been overlooked for too long with the only recent attention to the area arising from the controversial proposal for six-storey buildings in Prospero Street," he said.

"While that idea has been put to rest due to more stringent planning requirements for flood prone areas of the Shire, it shouldn't mean that the future for the whole precinct can be put in the too-hard basket."

Mr Longland said the South Murwillumbah area had some of the most picturesque views but was marred by "a number of buildings and derelict land that present an unattractive entry statement to the town of Murwillumbah".

He said the river bank was also overgrown with cane grass, offered no access to the river and was "not conducive to pedestrian use".

"Many have been calling for greater use of the river as a connection between Murwillumbah and the coast with a regular 'River Cat' style of ferry operation," he said.

"I think a pedestrian boardwalk and ferry wharf along the river at South Murwillumbah would make an attractive addition to the appeal of our town and would serve to help revitalise the precinct," said Mr Longland.

"It's time for a rebirth of South Murwillumbah to properly integrate the commercial, retail and residential components of the precinct into the overall future development of the town."

Mr Longland said if he was elected he would push for the development of a Master Plan for South Murwillumbah.

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