Council advised to avoid court
KINGSCLIFF real estate agent Brian Ring wants to save Tweed ratepayers up to $25 million by avoiding a major court case and at the same time save endangered frogs.
But he fears Tweed councillors aren't heeding his warnings.
Mr Ring, who successfully represented some long-time landholders in the long-stalled 80-year-old Seaside City subdivision adjacent to Salt on the Tweed Coast, appealed to councillors this week to avoid a court case with major Kingscliff landholder Gales Holdings.
He told councillors at Thursday's public access session Gales, which had a history of protracted court battles that had cost the council dearly, was moving to sue the council for damages over land off Turnock Street because of flooding from drains.
He said 14 days had been set down in February in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney to hear the case.
Mr Ring said council drains had flooded the property, creating a habitat for the endangered Wallum Froglet, but restricting development.
Gales Holdings, a family company, has long held development hopes for a major town centre north of the existing Kingscliff shopping village and for a regional centre further north.
“Basically I was there to try to ask the council to mediate with Gales, to take the case out of the solicitors' hands,” said Mr Ring.
“The council changed the flow of water; they directed water onto his land.”
“There is a remedy, if they would like to have a look at it, by taking the water through piping to where it is supposed to go.
“If that happens, the frogs have an exit to the other side. You are not eliminating a species.”
Yesterday Gales' director Dr Stephen Segal said after a protracted battle his company had won the right to fill part of the land but had been forced to set aside 2.5 hectares as frog habitat, giving it a basis to calculate damages.
“The damages are many, many millions of dollars,” Dr Segal said. “We are saying the council caused the damage.”
A council spokeswoman said the council would not comment as the matter was before the court.