Mayor Katie Milne back at council chambers today.
Mayor Katie Milne back at council chambers today. Alina Rylko

Healthy Mayor uses casting vote to sink Hastings DA

MAYOR Katie Milne came out of extended sick leave early today to help sink a rescission motion over legal action against a Hastings Point development application.

At an extraordinary meeting at Tweed Shire Chambers today, councillors debated their 2013 refusal of a 20-lot subdivision at 40 Creek St, and their subsequent decision in 2014 to defend that decision in the courts.

In a short debate, Cr Milne used her casting vote to sink the motion put forward by conservative Crs Carolyn Byrne and Warren Polglase who were questioning the costs of defending the DA refusal in the NSW Land and Environment Court.

Cr Milne thanked fellow elected representatives, council staff and the community for their patience and well-wishes during her leave.

“I had a serious medical issue, it’s been addressed now and I’m thankful for such great treatment from Tweed and Gold Coast University Hospitals,” she said.

Cr Barry Longland said he was “glad to hear Katie’s voice” again as he expressed his reluctance to overturn council’s previous decision.

“Nobody likes to pay legal fees but we have to accept there are times when the Land and Environment Court is a legitimate part of the process,” he said.

Cr Milne said she considered Cr Byrne’s argument that the rescission could save money, but said the “hundreds and thousands” already spent would be wasted and it would “pre-empt” the court’s decision.

Speaking to the Tweed Daily News after the meeting, Hastings Point Progress Association member Julie Boyd questioned the timing of the debate.

“It was very opportunistic by the councillors who put up the motion, hoping the very ill mayor was away,” she said.

HPPA president Gary Thorpe said the sub-division was one of three hotly protested by the community and was proposed for an area considered to be extremely flood prone.

Cr Byrne refuted claims the motion was timed for the mayor’s absence, stating the motion was in line with time frames specific to matters currently before the courts.

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