Illegal footpath to be dug up
A FOOTPATH built across private land by Tweed Shire Council will be ripped up after the council failed years ago to obtain the proper paperwork signed by the land owner.
Councillors this week were told by senior staff the council had “little option to remove the footpath” after years of complaints by the land owner, Kingscliff’s largest property holder Gales Holdings.
The pathway which connects Osprey Place and Elrond Drive was meant to largely serve residents of the Noble Lakeside mobile home village which, by coincidence, is currently managed by Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase.
The council has refused to build an alternative footpath along busy Elrond Drive citing traffic hazards.
Yesterday Gales director Dr Stephen Segal said it was not just his company that had been complaining.
“The neighbours whose back fence the footpath runs along wrote to the council about the danger and graffiti for years,” Dr Segal said. “There’s been letters from residents in the Noble Estate wanting a footpath in Elrond Drive for years and years.”
“We have been writing to the council for 10 or 15 years about that and council have agreed to take it away.”
Dr Segal said the footpath had been “illegally” built sometime before 1990 to serve the Noble estate which he added was designed without suitable pedestrian access.
He said Gales had originally agreed to allow the path “as a temporary measure” but it was a “typical example of a favoured developer and Council getting things done to our extreme disadvantage”.
Council staff said they could not find records of the footpath construction, “however it is almost certain to have been carried out by council”.
They said Gales solicitors advised in August 2007 the public use of the path could continue if the council accepted liability and indemnified the company from any claims arising from its use. The solicitors had earlier asked the council to build an alternative path along Elrond Drive but council replied it did not want to encourage pedestrian access on the ‘restricted access road’ and the council had asked for Gales “continued local support for the local community”.
In August and September this year, the solicitors asked the council to remove the footpath within 30 days.
Mayor Polglase said the council had trimmed trees along a 150-metre section of Elrond Drive to enable pedestrians to walk there and he had heard no complaints from residents of the park he manages about the arrangement.
“There’s plenty of room to walk along the edge of the road,” he said.
As for council building a path years ago on land without approval he conceded: “I think we haven’t done things well there”.
The Tweed Daily News has been reporting on the footpath problem since at least 2004 when residents of a Noble Lakeside Village, sought a path along Elrond Drive saying the existing one was across open land at the back of houses and unsuitable because of its isolation in case of a mishap.
Asked for a comment yesterday a council spokesperson simply responded: “The footpath is being removed from private land at the owner’s request”.