Why councillors are divided over Tweed's Rural Land strategy
HAVE rural stakeholders been properly consulted and heard during the drafting of the Rural Land Strategy 2020-2036?
That was the question dividing Tweed Shire councillors during the debate to adopt the controversial document at last Thursday's meeting.
The strategy aims to serve as a blueprint for the rural areas of the shire going forward, to support agriculture and industry and create employment opportunities through innovation, value-adding and diversification.
However, just because something is included in the document does not mean it will come to fruition.
It is merely an action point to be explored as a possibility with the appropriate studies and justifications in the future.
While Tweed Mayor Katie Milne is adamant the workshops, year of public exhibition and numerous drafts had produced a balanced document that was a compromise between rural aspirations and the environment, Cr Warren Polglase, along with Cr Pryce Allsop, adamantly said they believed stakeholders had been ignored.
During the meeting, Cr Allsop said while the rural landholder groups the council had been liaising with were happy with a lot of changes made to the strategy, their major concern was changing the strategy to allow for secondary detached dwellings on smaller properties.
Currently, the document has a proposed interim measure of investigating secondary dwellings and dual occupancy (detached) possible on rural properties of at least 10 hectares and 40 hectares respectively.
Cr Milne said it was never meant to be a rural housing strategy.
There are more than 140 actions outlined in the Rural Land Strategy, including preparing a tourism strategy to identify opportunities to grow rural tourism, reducing the potential for land-use conflicts and reviewing opportunities to promote local rural produce like producing an interpretative map for roadside stalls.
The vote to adopt the strategy passed four to three.
Councillors Allsop, Polglase and James Owen voted against.
Keep checking the Tweed Daily News website for more coverage.