Reg Van Rij.
Reg Van Rij. Mairi Manley

Leda admits to clearing mistake

A DEVELOPER on the Tweed has admitted it cleared protected bushland at Kings Forest earlier this year.

Leda cleared land within Cudgen Nature Reserve close to where a 4500-lot development was planned.

Company spokesman Reg Van Rij said Leda immediately informed the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service of the mistake.

"I confirm that Leda immediately reported the mistake to NPWS and other government entities as soon as the issue became known to us," Mr Van Rij said.

"This represented the correct and proper course of action.

"We are now co-operating fully with NPWS's most-thorough investigation into the matter."

Both Leda and the NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker would not comment further on the ongoing investigation.

"Until that investigation is completed, it would be highly inappropriate to provide any further commentary on the circumstances," Mr Van Rij said.

"I am of course understandably anxious to hear the results of the investigation in order that Leda can continue to move forward positively."

Tweed Shire Council councillor Katie Milne said the area cleared bordered Blacks Creek, which flowed into Cudgen Creek.

"It's probably one of the most significant nature reserves on the coast," Ms Milne said.

"It wasn't just having an impact on wildlife, but it also impacted on the waterways."

Ms Milne said the investigation had been going for about six months.

"Why has the investigation taken six months when the company has admitted to the mistake? It seems such a simple case," Ms Milne said.

"It's frustrating. All parties involved should be open about the investigation and water quality data should be taken.

"The community should be reassured."

Department of Environment and Heritage spokesman Lawrence Orel said the NPWS started the investigation immediately upon learning of the clearing in Cudgen Nature Reserve.

"Penalties for damaging a nature reserve can exceed $1 million for a corporation and for individuals $110,000 and/or six months in jail," Mr Orel said.



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