People power win: Kingscliff police command plan rejected
THE Northern Rivers Joint Regional Planning Panel decided at a sometimes emotional and rowdy meeting with representatives of Tweed Shire Council, residents and the NSW police service to refuse the creation of a large police command centre at Kingscliff's Marine Pde.
In front of 100 people, panel members on Wednesday heard a number of submissions before refusing permission to the NSW Planning and Infrastructure Minister Brad Hazzard.
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The panel considered more than written 50 submissions and a 2000-strong petition by Tweed Geoff Provest.
Speaker after speaker expressed opposition.
Council development assessment coordinator Denise Galle said pedestrians safety, parking and zoning remained concerns and council would stick with its recommendation not to allow the development.
"The applicant failed to adequately respond to the issues presented to council and councillors and the zoning as per LEP 2012 wouldn't allow a command centre in a R3 medium density zone," Ms Galle said.
Former Kingscliff police Sergeant Ian Speers spoke out against the proposal and alleged silencing of police staff critical of the plan.
"I'm not gagged," Mr Speers started.
"This issue has occupied my mind for the last 20 years.
"In 1992, I told the police hierarchy of the growing pains experienced by the police service in the area.
Mr Speers said he was concerned about the lack of resources available to outlaying Tweed areas.
"The JRPP is not in charge of the choice of location of the new command centre but is responsible to ensure the entire region is considered when making a decision," Mr Speers said.
Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president Rory Curtis spoke against the proposal.
"The facility needs to accommodate current and future demands and this location does not have the capacity for either current or future needs," Mr Curtis said.
Superintendent Darryl Tuck said alternative sites were identified but discounted by NSW police.
On speeding police cars, Supt Tuck said police responded from the road and officers weren't sitting in the station waiting to be called to action.
The panel decided four to one to recommend refusal, with only former Byron Shire general manager Pamela Westing voting against the recommendation.
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