Casuarina town centre approval
THE first stage of the Casuarina Town Centre is expected to be open by 2011 after NSW Planning Minister Kristina Kenneally yesterday approved a concept plan for the controversial $386 million project.
In giving approval to the project, the Department of Planning has over-ruled Tweed Shire Council and told developer Consolidated Properties it does not have to extend Esplanade Road as far as Council damanded.
The developer will also now keep a drainage easement it originally planned to fill and provide an additional 20m landscaped open space corridor along the easement route.
Casuarina Residents' Association President Rob Bryant said he was very happy.
“Naturally, I am delighted the approval has been granted. My only issue is that there has obviously been changes made between the Department and developer and we haven't seen them or discussed what the changes are between the community,” Mr Bryant said.
Although he said from what he had learned of the changes, they sounded acceptable to the community.
The project is expected to bring 500 new jobs to the Tweed and give Casuarina residents the shopping centre they have waited so long for.
Association vice-president Megan Brodhust-Hill said the final outcome for the centre was worth waiting for.
“I am very, very happy, it is great for everyone who fought for the idea of having a town centre here at Casuarina,” she said. The minister's approval of the project's Concept Plan and Stage One project application was welcomed by developer Consolidated Properties.
Managing director Don O'Rorke said the centre was the final piece in the jigsaw at Casuarina that delivered on the company's promise to residents more than 10 years ago.
“There have been some issues with Tweed Shire Council but we have worked through those with council and achieved most of the objectives,” he said.
“We will now proceed towards securing the necessary construction permits which should allow work to start on site early in the new year.”
The Department of Planning's Acting Deputy Director-General, Chris Wilson, said by granting conditional approval for the $26.6 million first stage of the project, a number of key priorities of the NSW Government had been met, including bringing jobs closer to home.
“The 500 construction and operational jobs expected to be generated also meet the objectives of the Far North Coast Regional Strategy to encourage sustainable growth and development across the region,” he said.