No illegal clearing, says Leda
TWEED Shire Council planning staff has swooped on the site of one of the region's biggest proposed developments after allegations of illegal clearing.
Council officers on Friday, and again yesterday, descended on the site south of Kingscliff where the giant development firm Leda proposes a new township of about 5000 people.
The project is of a similar size to the Cobaki Lakes township planned by Leda west of Tweed Heads.
Both projects have prompted opposition by some environmen- talists.
Yesterday the Council's planning director Vince Connell confirmed that “following receipt of a complaint on Friday a Council officer attended the Kings Forest development site and spoke to the pro- ponent following reports of works being undertaken in relation to existing vegetation on the land”.
“At this stage,” Mr Connell said, “Council is still investigating the situation, which is based around the removal of existing vegetation, and aims to clarify if this action is consistent with the land owner's current existing use rights.”
Leda's regional manager Reg Van Rij defended the company's actions, maintaining no unlawful activity had taken place.
“We have carried out work in accordance with our property rights,” he said.
“It's work in relation to the management of our property, which is totally lawful.”
Spokesperson for Team Koala Inc Jenny Hayes said she first heard the allegations of illegal clearing on Friday afternoon and had been worried that habitat for Tweed's declining koala population might be affected.
Yesterday she said she had heard the alleged clearing work had involved heath and undergrowth - not trees - but she was still concerned if it had been close to koala habitat.
Leda has lodged development applications with the NSW Government for new townships at Kings Forest and Cobaki Lakes, which together would provide nearly 10,000 homes ultimately worth at least $5 billion.
Kings Forest has been a battleground between developers and environmentalists, who in the 1990s were even accused of releasing a captured potoroo on the site to add weight to evidence of endangered species.