Tweed placed on hold

A SWAG of Tweed development decisions has been put on ice for at least two weeks as the shire council's new administrators come to grips with their jobs.

Homeowners too have been left out in the cold with a decision on whether or not to go ahead with a six per cent hike in rates temporarily shelved.

Development issues along with a decision on a new $170 million council budget have been frozen following radical changes to the way Tweed Council will be run under its three newly appointed administrators.

The delays are in the wake of a pledge that future decisionmaking will be more open and transparent with far greater opportunities for public input.

Development decisions are under most scrutiny after all, but two of the 12 items in the planning section of this week's council agenda were deferred.

Six of them relate to proposed new developer contributions and the others to development applications ranging from new planning for the Seaside City subdivision south of Kingscliff to the demolition of a house to make way for a dual occupancy.

They will all be referred to a newly established planning committee which is scheduled to hold its first meeting on June 15, prior to the start of the council meeting on the same day.

The new committee will consider residents' views on contentious development issues before a final decision is made.

It is an initiative of former Sydney City lord mayor Lucy Turnbull who is modelling it on a similar committee established when her own council was sacked.

A council spokesman said the new system should not cause any undue delay in dealing with development decisions once it was up and working.

Council's finance chief Reg Norvill was also relaxed about the temporary hold on budget deliberations, saying a twoweek delay will not interfere with getting rates notices out in time.

Mr Norvill said the new team would initially be working hard to understand the local issues by attending briefings with staff and even travelling around the shire to get an appreciation of the local environment and planning issues.

One of the first matters to be reviewed by the committee will be a new plan of management for the Tweed's beaches, including the possible removal of beach vehicle licences and off-leash dog exercise areas along the coast.

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