Roads and koalas top concerns at Kings Forest meeting
OPPONENTS of the $2.5 billion Kings Forest project have had a final chance to voice their opinions, labeling the development unnecessary and environmentally destructive.
About 50 residents attended a three-hour meeting at South Tweed Sports Club on Tuesday held by the NSW Planning Assessment Commission.
The NSW Department of Planning has recommended the development be approved.
Over 10 speakers, representing various land care and activist groups in the Tweed, proposed a slew of reasons why the Leda Group development should not be approved.
Speaker Maria Smart was adamant dogs should not be allowed in the development, fearing for koalas as their numbers dwindled down to below 144 on the Tweed.
"Koalas don't buy blocks of land, so they must be a low priority on Leda's list of how to make a billion dollars on the Tweed Coast," she said.
"People need to be educated on what constitutes koala-friendly lifestyles."
Speaker Matt Gordon was concerned about the inadequacy of Tweed Coast Rd and said the road would not cope with thousands more residents sharing the single lane to the Pacific Hwy.
Other reasons included a low level of environmental sustainability, infrastructure overload and the heavy toll the development would take on surrounding habitats of fragile native species, such as koalas and the wallum-sedge frog.
Team Koala president Jenny Hayes said while some conditions were positive, more needed to be done to protect the development's surrounding eco system.
Kings Forest is a matter of national environmental significance, Jenny Hayes said.
"We want the minimum standard of Koala Beach."
Northern Rivers Guardians representative Joan Vickers presented a detailed study showing that the development would likely decimate entire populations of the wallum-sedge frog, due to earthworks destroying their habitat.
Ms Vickers said any compensatory habitats would be a poor replacement.
Friends of Cudgen Nature Reserve representative Chris Core said the development would need more than one road in and out of the community, citing disaster management and emergency services access reasons.
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Mr Core also said there was a need for the development's environmental officer to work closely with the community.
Some speakers were concerned with acidic soil runoff into surrounding waterways during construction and called for close monitoring.
Others claimed planning documents were not up to standard, were unclear or did not provide a full overview of development.
A Leda Group spokesman said they did not make representation at the meeting because they believe their submissions on the development stand on their own merit.