Sam dawson and Ben Stillaway of the Caldera environment centre. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News
Sam dawson and Ben Stillaway of the Caldera environment centre. Photo: John Gass / Tweed Daily News John Gass

Fish free to get on with it

WITH A Tweed Shire Council legal action comfortably put to bed, controversial developer John Fish has announced he is set to log 2.4sq km of Limpinwood forest.

The council recently overturned its previous decision to take a class-five criminal legal proceeding against Mr Fish in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court.

The council's original decision to take legal action against him was prompted by a Clean Up notice issued to him for unapproved road works at his property causing sediment run-off into Hopping Dicks Creek.

Following a Crown Lands investigation, a licence was approved for Mr Fish to carry out remediation works on the affected Crown road reserve and sedimentation erosion controls were erected to minimise run-off.

The council's director of planning Vince Connell said it was "considered appropriate that council determine not to advance the previously resolved class-five proceedings".

Mr Fish said he was "happy commonsense prevailed".

"To suggest that any of our actions were criminal was completely absurd," he said.

Mr Fish said he worked in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, NSW Office of Water, NSW Soil Conservation Service and Crown Roads to enable the road to allow access for cattle yards and a forestry operation.

"We currently have 90 head of cattle grazing up on the plateau and early next year will start our forestry operations on approximately 600 acres that has been approved for harvesting by the relevant NSW government departments in 2013," he said.

Approvals are current until 2028.

"The timber resource is very diverse, ranging from traditional hardwood species to some exquisite internal-use timbers," Mr Fish said.

Mr Fish, an experienced developer responsible for Gold Coast Marina Quays and Martha Cove, Victoria, said he had no intention to subdivide the property.

The Caldera Environment Centre in Murwillumbah criticised the council for backing down on the legal action and has made complaints about what they say are three copy cat offences on neighbouring properties.

They have also posted online what they say is photographic evidence of a second pollution event flowing into Jackson Creek.

The council has reported these complaints to the EPA because they relate to private forestry approvals. The EPA inspected the sites on Thursday.

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