Reality series OK to 2008
NO eviction: The producers of the I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here reality TV show can stay in the Tweed.
Tweed Shire Council's administrators yesterday voted to allow filming of the top-rating British TV series in private rainforest to continue until mid2008.
The decision saved the jobs of 60 Tweed residents employed by film company Granada Productions and millions of dollars to be spent in Murwillumbah.
Some residents of Dungay Creek Road in bushland north of the town near the Queensland border had objected, complaining about traffic, helicopters, journalists seeking scoops on celebrities and security men dressed in camouflage.
But after planning staff said the economic benefits were important for the broader community, administrators Garry Payne, Lucy Turnbull and Max Boyd, gave the thumbs up to the reality show provided producers consult more with residents and meet a number of conditions.
Architect Gary Fidler, commissioned to speak for objectors, argued the company had originally valued its development at $125,000, paying just $550 in council fees, but now admitted to spending $70 million.
He also produced spyin-the-sky "Google Earth" photographs from the Internet showing what he said was a "humungous amount of buildings" erected on the secluded property without construction approval.
But Granada Australia's executive director Jason Moody said the $70 million was the total expenditure on employment and goods in Australia and the buildings were all transportable - trucked in and taken away after each filming session.