Tweed Daily News

Push to sell site and move council

THE push is on for Tweed Shire Council to sell up its Murwillumbah council offices and move to Tweed Heads.

Former mayor Joan van Lieshout and Cr Kevin Skinner have teamed up to kick off public discussion on the move to take the council chambers closer to the bulk of Tweed's population.

But that has riled Murwillumbah Business Chamber president Toni Zuschke, who says Murwillumbah is the geographic and historic heart of the Tweed and the only place to govern the shire from.

Cr van Lieshout, who divides her time between a home at Banora Point and her husband's Misty Mountain property south west of Mt Warning has revealed an aged-care provider may even be interested in purchasing the current council HQ which includes the council complex opened by Gough Whitlam in 1974 and a four-storey annexe completed in 1996.

Cr Skinner, a Chinderah motel owner, said the council should have moved out of the town when radio 2MW left and renamed itself Radio 97 in the late 1980s.

“I'm pretty much of the one mind - out of Murwillumbah and into the area where the people live.” said Cr Skinner.

The council last debated moving in the early 90s when it considered building the four-storey annex to house booming staff numbers and was told the Murwillumbah economy would be devastated by any relocation.

Cr van Lieshout said it was again time for “serious discussion on whether to relocate”, because the current building could not adequately house all the council departments. If an aged-care operator was interested she said councillors should talk with them and “seriously look at it”.

“It's always been my vision to see aged-care units in Murwillumbah because of facilities, the close proximity to the hospital, the library and the hydro-therapy pool,” Cr van Lieshout said. “We are long overdue for a renovation. Personally I don't think it's worth upgrading there (in Murwillumbah).”

Cr van Lieshout said Southern Cross University, which is building a new campus near Gold Coast Airport, could make available space it occupies next to the Tweed Heads Library, and in any case “Tweed Heads is going to be our city”.

Cr Skinner said even a partial move would relieve pressure in the current council offices.

“The building itself is chock-a-block full. There's no room to move,” he said.

“The building itself shows signs of wear and tear and huge costs of maintaining it.”

Cr Skinner said if the Council was prepared to spend “millions” on a new museum at Tweed Heads, it should look at new council headquarters incorporating administration offices, a library and a museum in a “one-stop shop”.

Mrs Zuschke said the Murwillumbah Business Chamber's new “heart of the Tweed” television promotion focused on Murwillumbah being the historic and geographic centre of the shire.

“It makes good sense to govern from the middle,” she said.

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