SIGN ON: Alan Kirk, Jeanette Duke, Leone Suter and Ron Cooper discussing the petition.
SIGN ON: Alan Kirk, Jeanette Duke, Leone Suter and Ron Cooper discussing the petition. Contributed

Kingscliff height petition gathers pace

A PETITION opposing plans to increase Kingscliff's three-storey building height limit continues to gather momentum with more than 12,000 people adding their names to the form.

Established by Kingscliff resident Ron Cooper five months ago, the petition will be delivered to State Parliament in the future where, under legislation, it will have to be debated as it has passed the 10,000-signature mark.

Mr Cooper - a former Tweed Shire councillor who is running again for council on October 29 under the banner No High Rise - said he was determined to continue his mission, buoyed by the support he had gathered from locals and visitors.

"This is the last chance to keep Kingscliff at three storeys,” Mr Cooper said.

"People want to keep Kingscliff with a three-storey limit, they don't want another Gold Coast. People keep on saying don't let what is happening down in Forster-Tuncurry happen here.

"If council had consulted properly with the Kingscliff Locality Plan they wouldn't have even started on a five- or six-storey plan, they would've talked to people about advantage and disadvantage.”

Mr Cooper criticised the consultation undertaken by council, which included a series of workshops and the opening of a shopfront in Marine Pde for eight weeks earlier this year, which provided details of the locality plan and access to council staff for the community. The consultation later won a NSW community engagement award.

But Mr Cooper said it was easy for governments to sell residents an idea under such one-on-one conditions. Instead he advocated for a more community meeting-style consultation.

"The principle of deciding what's best and then go around selling the idea is not acceptable,” he said.

"I'm absolutely convinced we should have 10 tables of 10 people in a hall and have the people sit around a table and be told about a plan.”

"When you have significant decisions that will affect people, that's the consultative point. People can think about it ahead of time, can talk about the upsides and the downsides and start to reach concession, and it all hinges on using plain English.”

Tweed Shire Council senior urban designer Jonathan Lynch said feedback from the shopfront showed the community was split 50:50 on whether to allow height limits to scale up to five storeys on Pearl St.

He said debate over the height limit had spawned several additional community workshops in Kingscliff, which had been completed.

A further community workshop would be held early 2017 before the Locality Plan was finalised.

Ron Cooper, pictured here at Cudgen Creek, opposes changes to Kingscliff's height limits.
Ron Cooper, pictured here at Cudgen Creek, opposes changes to Kingscliff's height limits. John Gass

What's in the height plan?

TWEED Shire Council will not finalise its Kingscliff Locality Plan until more community consultation is undertaken.

Consultation began with workshops in 2014 and culminated in a shopfront on Marine Parade earlier this year, which council said was attended by around 2000 people over an eight-week period. Another community workshop is planned for early 2017 after the new council administration is settled.

In the draft plan, council states it will:

  • Maintain generally low scale coastal character buildings along Marine Parade CBD and the eastern side of Pearl St.
  • Retain the low scale building height on Marine Pde by reducing the existing building height from 13.6m to 11m (ensuring 3-storey limit). Investigate the opportunity for higher buildings along Turnock St and the southern side of Pearl St. Step building height back from the beach.
  • Promote development along the eastern side of Pearl St to create more of an active edge whilst retaining the existing 13.6m height limit. On the western side of Pearl St provide more height to encourage mixed use development 16.6m - where onside car parking in basement configurations can be accommodated.
  • Increase building height across the Kingscliff Shopping Village to 16.6m to encourage some shop-top housing.

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