Residents are fighting for the town centre.
Residents are fighting for the town centre. Tweed Daily News

Give us our supermarket

THE Casuarina Residents' Association have asked council to “please explain” why the long-awaited Casuarina town centre could be put on hold.

Association president Rob Bryant said members were incensed that council officers, headed by general manager Mike Rayner, had recommended at last night's Tweed Shire Council meeting councillors effectively block the town centre from proceeding, going against the advice of the NSW Department of Planning.

“The council has received a strongly-worded letter from the deputy director general of the DoP, posted on council's own website, advising council to grant owners consent allowing work to start on site,” Mr Bryant said.

“Despite this, council officers are thumbing their noses at the department by recommending that this consent continue to be denied unless the applicant meets three conditions.

“The officers, in their recommendation, conveniently omit to mention that the developer has already agreed to two of those conditions, and that it cannot meet the third condition because the Department of Planning as the consent authority opposes it.”

The third condition called for the extension of Esplanade Road on the beachfront, Mr Bryant said.

“We also oppose this senseless condition. It clearly results in the loss of public space and parkland, replacing it with a road.

“This is a disgrace and a completely pig-headed attitude by council officers. It puts the council directly in conflict with the department, with Casuarina's residents as the meat in the sandwich.”

At the time of publication a decision had not been made on the issue at last night's council meeting.

If the recommendation was approved it would leave the town centre in limbo, Mr Bryant said.

“We ask why council officers appear determined to stop a shopping centre at Casuarina Beach, a shopping centre which is the lynchpin of our long-promised town centre, and demanded now by residents. We want to know why the officers seem to be blocking Casuarina when a supermarket here has always been planned (which) complies with Tweed Shire's Local Environment Plan, and is part of the Tweed Shire Council's retail strategy.”

Director of planning and regulation Vince Connell, in a report to councillors, said given a previous resolution council was unable to provide approval unless the plan was amended to include Esplanade Road or the resolution itself was amended.

“Despite the department's opinion, the officers are still of the view that the extension of the beach esplanade is an important urban design element, as it provides greater accessibility and permeability to a key part of the Casuarina development.”

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