Ray pours scorn on claims

SALT developer, the Ray Group, has attacked as "untrue" claims by Tweed Monitor that it broke promises to the community, ignored zoning regulations and was seeking windfall benefits from Tweed Shire Council.

Ray Group managing director, Brian Ray, said he was seeking legal advice over the claims, which he said were defamatory and based on resentment of the project.

"We have been happy to engage in fair and reasonable debate over the future of the Tweed, and we respect the views of people who are concerned about growth and the changes that are taking place in the shire, even if we don't always agree," Mr Ray said.

"But there is an hysteria now coming into play in attacks on developers and the Council, and when it steps across the line into defamation, we will not tolerate it."

Mr Ray refuted claims by Monitor president Laurie Ganter concerning proposed revisions to the Salt masterplan.

He said the proposal did not alter the residential/resort mix contained in the existing Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and included more tourism resort apartments to create a third tourist resort.

"The generation of tourism rooms and associated tourism industry has been one of the main outcomes required by State and local planning authorities since Salt's inception. The increases being sought do not alter the nature of the development."

Mr Ray also said the proposal was required to be considered by the original consent authority which was Tweed Shire Council, not the NSW Government.

"The Ray Group has offered to make contributions to Council in lieu of all additional open space requirements because Salt has already created 2.5 times more than the required green space within the development and the project is very well served with park areas already," he said.

Mr Ray said accusations of broken promises by Monitor were also unfounded.

The proposal to pump sand from Tweed River had been stopped by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources because it had placed tighter controls on aquifer protection.

The council had not required the Ray Group to build a new bridge over Cudgen Creek, instead it wanted a $450,000 developer contribution to upgrade the existing bridge, which was paid in August 2004.

"Ray Group and Salt have done all that has been asked and expected of us in accordance with all the documentation, community consultation, public exhibition and negotiations requirements which have occurred during the past four years," he said.

Mr Ray said the Ray Group had a genuine commitment to the Tweed, evidenced by the hundreds of new jobs which Outrigger had just started to fill in the past month.

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