Minister Tony Kelly, Robert McDonald and Peter Daly at Boyds Bay earlier this month.
Minister Tony Kelly, Robert McDonald and Peter Daly at Boyds Bay earlier this month. Tweed Daily News

Milne 'sacred river' fight

TWEED Shire Councillor Katie Milne is donning her anti-marina hat again in an apparent attempt to capsize the proposed development of Boyds Bay.

Cr Milne became known as “the marina slayer” in 2006, before being elected to council, when she led a successful campaign to overturn a 115-berth marina development at Chinderah.

The Greens advocate last week asked her colleagues to support a community survey into the latest proposal but was left disappointed when the motion failed to be seconded.

“I'm not suggesting to get rid of boats, just not to encourage them,” Cr Milne said.

“The Tweed River has been recognised by the community as the greatest asset of the shire.

“This is an iconic landscape and a sacred river.”

The $30 million marina precinct, which would provide 185 berths and storage for 160 dry boats, was announced last month by New South Wales Lands Minister Tony Kelly during a visit to the Tweed.

“Marinas have proven to be extremely controversial all up and down the east coast of Australia, including previously at the Tweed, where there was overwhelming majority opposition to the marina at Chinderah,” Cr Milne said.

“The Land and Environment Court overturned the Chinderah marina approval for a number of reasons including, specifically, the lack of economic benefit.”

Since this decision, Cr Milne said, the Tweed has gained further recognition of its scenic and environmental significance and has been nominated as a National Iconic Landscape.

In a meeting council had with the Minister, Cr Milne reminded him of the Chinderah debacle.

“I also reminded him that the Chinderah marina survey demonstrated that, of the 619 people surveyed including visitors, very few wanted expanded boating activities.

“Eighty per cent did not want to see marinas elsewhere on the Tweed River and approximately 90 per cent did not want to see large boats or jet skis.

“Its time this community had 'best practice' democracy and there is no excuse for it on this government initiated project that has no deadlines.”

A spokesperson from Minister Kelly's office responded to Cr Milne's call for democracy.

“There is already a process in place that allows for opportunity for community consultation and we welcome any proposals from those who want to submit them.”

The marina, which would include a waterfront marine-lifestyle complex and refuelling facilities, has not been finalised and is still only a development proposal.

“Tweed Shire Council has no formal position,” a spokesperson said.

“Council's role will be determined in the event the matter progresses to the formal lodgement of a development application.

“It is unclear whether Tweed Shire Council would be the consent authority for the marina proposal if it was to progress to a formal application.”

The next stage of the project, a joint venture between Seymour Group and Watpac Property, will involve the finalisation of commercial terms and signing of the development agreement.

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