Better consultation 'vital' for Tweed River management plan
TWEED River users are calling for more time to discuss the Tweed Shire Council's 10-year Tweed River Estuary Management Plan, fearing their voices haven't been heard.
The plan, which was on public exhibition until April, is aimed at creating a framework on balancing environmental, recreational and economic uses of the river and is expected to be presented in draft form to the council in June.
While extensive consultation was carried out with the assistance of a waterways committee, made up of businesses and stakeholders that rely on the river, Mount Warning Tours operator Michael Simmons said some recreational boat users and residents felt left out of the conversation.
"It's absolutely vital that the Tweed River has a comprehensive river management plan,” Mr Simmons said.
"The Tweed Shire Council and Tweed Waterways Department have done a really good job to getting where it is now.
"(But) it's certainly a perception that they feel there should be more consultation and the opportunities for more conversations is still possible.”
Mr Simmons said river users just wanted a chance to share their thoughts on the management plan before any final decision is made.
"If there was a willingness with council, and I believe there's some goodwill to do that, (extra consultation) would satisfy those who feel they haven't been listen to adequately so far,” he said.
Council's Waterways Program leader Tom Alletson said there was still time for community input with the management plan being drafted by staff before it is placed on public exhibition again.
"We are waiting on State Government agencies to provide comment on it,” he said. "Once this happens, there will be additional edits before it goes back to the coast and waterways committee and then council before we put it on public exhibition, and will go out on exhibition for 60 days when it does.
During that time there will be two community info sessions, one in Murwillumbah and one in Tweed.”
The plan will look at ways of improving and protecting vital waterways in the tidal section of the river, which covers the 35km stretch between the Bray Park Weir at Murwillumbah and the river mouth at Tweed Heads.