A MAJOR Kingscliff developer is challenging Tweed Shire Council to accept his plans for the seaside town.
Gales Holdings director Dr Stephen Segal invited the community to inspect an approximate 25ha parcel of land south of Noble Lakeside Park, which he plans to use as a future urban parkland and residential development.
More than 40 people attended the open day on Saturday (October 14) to be shown around by Dr Segal and hear his plans for the area.
Dr Segal said he wanted to hold the open day as he was disappointed council hadn't made his vision known to the community during the draft process of the Kingscliff Locality Plan.
"It was to show (the community) the location of the intersection adjacent to Noble Park, to have a look at the fenced off melaleuca, which is how the council would want it to stay, and to show them this land which is what we want to put into the public's domain and the council wants it ecologically fenced off,” he said.
Council has confirmed a portion of the area south of Noble Park has been sectioned off to protect melaleuca regrowth and koala habitat, but Dr Segal questioned council's claim the vegetation should be protected and hinted at a potential challenge of their decision in court.
"I respect the ecologists who want to keep the ecology but it's the job of the planners to weigh up everything,” Dr Segal said.
"There could be a new residential area in Kingscliff.”
Dr Segal said he believed the matter would end up in court eventually, if there was no way forward with the current council.
"We can go to court or we can just leave it and come back in another five years.”
But council's planning director Vince Connell said council staff had to assess what was best for the future of the entire area and not just one development.
"It is important that strategic planning decisions are based on a robust understanding of site opportunities and constraints together with the aspirations of land owners and those of the wider community,” Mr Connell said.
One Noble Park resident, who asked not to be named, was concerned about the proposed development's impact on future flooding.
"Earlier this year when the water came up high we sat and watched it come up for two days,” she said.
"I don't know where the water is going to go, we're still going to get the same water and the river is still going to overflood.”
But Dr Segal said his plans were in accordance with council's flood modelling data, labelling community concerns about flooding a "non-issue”.
"It's no problem... this area is all in the flood model to be filled,” he said.
"The council, the government and us as developers would never be able to do anything that doesn't comply with the requirements. It's a non-issue that's easily addressed.”
Team Koala president Jenny Hayes said she was also worried about what the removal of the melaleuca would mean for the endangered Tweed Coast koala population.
"This is critical koala area for our endangered koala and it's absolutely beautiful habitat and to take it down is absolutely devastating for our whole community,” she said.
But Dr Segal said no koalas had been found on Gales' land despite several ecological studies. However, he said he would investigate the possibility of the land being koala habitat as a priority.