Car park sale secret talks

SECRET talks are under way between Tweed Shire Council officials and an unnamed developer for the sale of the council's Wollumbin Street car park for a shopping complex in the town.

The council has confirmed negotiations are continuing over the sale of the land, which was first mooted under the council's previous administrators, but put on hold when the September 2008 elections drew near.

The secret talks coincide with revelations that another developer wants to buy the site of the Murwillumbah Bowls Club for a shopping complex - and relocate the lawn bowls to the rooftop of a new building.

But council staff has warned that will need council approval and probably a rezoning.

Shire councillor and president of the Murwillumbah and District business chamber Phil Youngblutt said he was aware negotiations were continuing.

“There is a crew that wants to buy it but you never know in these uncertain times whether they still want it or not,” Cr Youngblutt said.

“I would like to see far more car parking, but at the same time this could bring a lot more jobs for people into the town.

“It's a situation where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.”

Cr Youngblutt was unsuccessful in a behind-closed-doors session at the last council meeting to defer an decision to “allow council to investigate all opportunities for parking that will be lost” when he only won the support of Greens Party councillor Katie Milne.

The other five councillors voted to enter into negotiation with the preferred tenderer with a view to proceeding with the sale.

Asked for an elaboration, a council spokesperson said: “Council is investigating the opportunities to compensate for the loss of parking should the sale proceed.”

Council officers in a report to councillors said the car park, adjacent to the Come Alive Gym and behind the Murwillumbah TAFE College, appeared to be “primarily used by the TAFE and does not provide a significant benefit to the CBD in terms of customer car parking”.

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