Just before the second Tweed Shire Council meeting for the year starts in the Murwillumbah chambers.
Just before the second Tweed Shire Council meeting for the year starts in the Murwillumbah chambers. Jessica Lamb

ROLLING COVERAGE: Second M'bah council meeting this year

8.20PM:

Council has entered confidential.

Items 19.2 and 19.3 passed unanimously.

For more see later editions of the Tweed Daily News.

8.10PM:

The long saga for a Kingscliff development application has finally come to an end.  

A Development Application  (with amendment to development consent) for an Integrated Housing Development incorporating six two and three storey dwellings being Part Two and Part Three Storey at 12 Hungerford Lane, Kingscliff has been approved.

For more see later editions of the Tweed Daily News.

The vote passed unanimously.

7.50PM:

Council has returned to sitting after a break for dinner.

7PM:

Councillors entered a heated debate over a Development Application for a Telecommunications Facility at 47 Terranora Rd, Banora Point.

The application, which is for the same site as a current telecommunications facility, would mean a 24m monopole would be erected, a nine panel antennae on turret on top of the monopole installed resulting in an overall height of 35m, five new radiocommunication dishes installed and installing ancillary equipment associated with the safe operation of the facility, such as elevated cable ladder.

At the council's December 5 meeting last year, the DA was deferred to todaay's meeting to get a response from the Department of Education regarding their reasoning behind their policy on mobile telecommunications as well as Robert Stokes, Minister for Planning and to also request more detailed information in regard to the potential alternative sites.

Cr Allsop spoke in support of the application as he did not want to create blackspots in the area.

"To create black spots now is a bad situation. People rely on the services they are used to and you could be creating a wave pf problems. The reality is it was on the resivour to begin with," he said.

Cr Cherry said she did not support the application as the community had expressed their fear of harm for children attending a nearby school and two childcare centres.

"This is the perfect opportunity to address if we can find an alternate site while not exposing our most sensitive parts of the community," she said.

"There was such a strong response from the  Department of Education, unfortunately we did not get a response from the Department of Planning.

She referenced the response from the telco which said they were confident the site was the best option as "it needs to be as close as possible to the existing site".

"I don't think that is a fair requirement given the concern. The community don't feel consulted in this or involved in the process as much as they need to be," Cr Cherry said.

Cr Brynes asked if the new tower would have 5G capacity.

A representative from the telco in the public gallery said it would not, 5G required completely different technology and the existing and proposed equipment would need to be replaced to have 5G in the area.

Mayor Milne said the council should stick by its own policy that requires a community meeting by the telco for a better consultation process.

She said she was not satisfied with the response from the telco, "they did not feel it was appropriate" that a meeting would cause more distress to the residents.

"I think council should require a community meeting as it is so close in the radius of the school," she said.

"I think it is weak of us if we do not enforce our own policies just because (the telco) decided they don't feel it is required."

Cr Cooper said he thought the telco did not have a public meeting as there was no change in location and no change to the amount of radiation.

He thought that is was unfair of other residents of Banora Point if the tower was not approved and instead three towers were required to be installed elsewhere to do the same job.

"Its already there and has been there for a while," Cr Cooper said.

"If people are worried about 5G then that becomes and issue for the future."

He said he understood the need for better reception as his street did not receive the best coverage.

"Why are we trying to get rid of this site and kicking the can down the road for a whole lot of other people?"

Mayor Milne moved an alternate motion that the council requests the telco to conduct a community meeting and provide a report of the meeting to council.

Cr Cherry supported the motion.

Cr Cooper asked how the councillors justified shifting the problem to other areas of Banora Point.

Cr Allsop backed up Cr Cooper.

He said the issue arose with trying to pick a new site which did not disrupt the network and create black spots.

"We don't know what the repercussions are going to be," he said.

"You know what you have brought into if you live there now.

"You could end up with a worse situation."

Mayor Milne reiterated the fact she wanted council to abide by its own policies that required a meeting, even if the DA was approved in the future.

Cr Allsop said a community meeting was not going to change the outcome.

"The reality is some people are not going to be happy with it and I'm sorry to those people but I think we need to take a leadership position on this," he said.

Cr Cooper asked if the council's policy only related to new sites for telco towers not existing ones, as if three other sites in Banora Point were found, community consultation meetings would have to be held for each.

"You have a no win situation if you start going down that track," he said.

Cr Brynes urged the council to trust in the accepted science.

"Science is not built on opinions," he said.

"We accept the science of climate change. That science, is never 100 per cent, like all science. But at the moment the base knowledge is this is not harmful technology."

Cr Brynes said council could not pick and choose about which science they supported and which they didn't given they supported the science behind climate change.

"I think we have a responsibility to trust of science over what is becoming globally the "fake news". We need to get back to respecting the knowledge and scientists behind this could be different in the future, but right now this is what we rely on to govern our laws and policies," he said.

He asked if council wanted to downgrade a service which was already provided.

The mayor's ammendment lost 4-2.

Mayor Milne and Cr Cherry voted for.

The DA was approved 5-2, Cr Cherry and Mayor Milne voted against.

Council broke for dinner at 7pm.

For more on this DA see Saturday's Tweed Daily News.

6.45PM:

Items 15.1 and 17.1-21.4 on the agenda were all moved in a block and passed unanimously.

6.40PM:

Parking woes at Ballymore Court in Banora Point brought to the attention of Cr Brynes will be referred to the Local Traffic Committee.  

A motion by Cr Brynes that passed unanimously will mean council staff will conduct site inspections of parking demand and capacity in Ballymore Court, Banora Point to determine the degree of non-compliance with Road Rules and any issues with access for service and emergency vehicles.  

Council staff will also facilitate a consultation session between BUPA Aged Care management and concerned residents to discuss possible solutions to any parking issues identified in Ballymore Court.  

Cr Brynes said he had been out to the area himself and noted a council report said the issue had been ongoing for a number of years.  

Residents had expresses concerns about parking limiting the ability of emergency vehicles to attend the street and bin collection.  

The motion passed unanimously.

6.30PM:

Health minister Greg Hunt will be asked by council to not only reverse the reclassification of Murwillumbah's health services to the same as other metropolitan areas (MM1) but also explain the reasoning behind the change.

The motion put forward by Cr Byrnes was also amended to seek support in the matter by the local federal member.

Cr Brynes said the re-classification in regard to health outcomes, health distribution and resources in the area.

"To anyone in the area (Murwillumbah) to suggest they are a city is downright crazy. What we are collectively looking for is a common sense decision from the minister to reverse the decision," he said.

"I think it is important to have a bi-partisan approach on this."

Cr Allsop asked if by reversing it the town might be loosing a positive which was planned for in the future with the re-classification.

Cr Brynes said it was a decision made by "bureaucracy in the ABS" and did not take into the reality of a small regional town.

He said speaking to GPs, some of which did not want to come forward themselves, will affect their ability to attract younger doctors out of training as there was no incentive for them to stay.

"A doctor's surgery is also a business, it does affect business outcomes and the flow on effects will mean less doctors in Murwillumbah which we don't want," he said.

The vote passed unanimously.

6.20PM:

Tweed council has taken steps towards promoting Regenerative Landscape Management after a motion by Mayor Milne passed unanimously today.

As council policy in this area is under review of sustainable agricultural strategies, the mayor amended the wording for a workshop with experts instead of a report being prepared.

Mayor Milne spoke in support as "out of adversity comes good things" and the shire should "take advantage of opportunities".

She said the purpose of her motion is to look at new and better ways to do things.

Cr Allsop questioned whether local ratepayers should foot the bill for something he considered should be further afield than just the shire.

He said he supported the workshop but believed universities, other shires and the stategovernment should be involved in a wider strategy as the issue was Australia wide.

"I don't know Tweed shire should foot the bill for a strategy which should be further afield. By all means wave the flag and get it started. But should rate payers foot the bill? I think it should be done outside of council by working with council but looked at through a different source of finance than rate payers," Cr Allsop said.

Mayor Milne responded the workshop would get advice from organisations about the best way to go into the future from either invest money or going for government grants.

"They are the professionals and we should seek their advice," she said.

Cr Polglase raised the importance of including local industry experts, "people on the ground" instead of "scientific bueaurecreats".

Cr Cooper said the regenerative characteristics were something he hoped to demonstrate at Wardrop Valley Village.

The vote passed unanimously.

6PM:

The council has received two petitions.

The first with 1400 signatures dated January 28 asks council to note the residents displeasure at "water miners sucking aquifers dry while tax payers are hit with water restrictions".

The petition also called for Murwillumbah to take steps towards becoming plastic water bottle free to minimise pollution and urged the council to look into more re-fill water bottle stations and water bubblers.

Another petition from residents at Lagoon Rd and June St in Fingal Heads highlighted parking issues from Friday to Sunday with surfing visitors.

The petition listed difficulty getting out of driveways without assistance, emergency services unable to get into the streets and council garbage bins collectors unable to navigate the street.

The document said it was common to have 50-70 cars parked for up to four hours there.

It also listed other issues like the commonly finding feces polluting the lagoon near their homes.

The petition asked to request consideration of resident only parking on these streets.

Council's director of engineering said the issue had already gone to the local traffic committee that had come up with a recommendation to be presented to council.

5.45PM:

The second Tweed Shire Council meeting for the year is underway in the Murwillumbah council chambers.  

Five people are present in the public gallery.  

Mayor Katie Milne read the aboriginal statement and pastor Rob Stuttle from Living Waters Church provided the opening prayer.  

All councillors are present except James Owen who sends his apologies and is excused.

No conflicts of interest have been declared for anything on the agenda.

Mayor moved amendment: council request applicant to do community meeting and a report be provided on the meeting

Chris strongly supported the mayor

Cooper: thinking about climate change deniers and mobile phone deniers- that is what it is turning into

How do you justify shifting this problem to other areas in Banora point and saying to those pople, look you have had it up there all the time, why are you going to bring it down here now? In three places? It is almost unfair. Denying mobile phone reception

Allsop: agree with councillor cooper. We have a site ehre, trying to pick a new site which doesn't disriupt the whole network. We don't know what the repurcussions are going to be. We know what we have now, to put it near somewhere else. You know what you have brought into if you live there now.

You could end up with a worses situation.

Mayor: why can't we abide by our own laws? Even if we approve it in the future

Allsop: because its not going to change the ocutcome. Reality is people are not going to be happy with it and Im sorry to those people. I think we need to take a leadership position on this

Cooper: isn't it only a new site which requires consultation?

You have a no win situation if you start going down that track

Reece: take facts in science. Science not built on opinions. Many have opinions regarding the issue but echoe councillor cooper's comments. We accept the science of climate change. That science is never 100 percent like all science. At the moment the base knowledge is this is not harmful technology. The same said about climate change. Cannot pick and choose. I think we have a responsibility trhe trust of science over what is becoming globally the "fake news" need to get back to respecting the knowledge and scienctists behind this could be different in the future, but right now this is what we rely on

To take away a service already provided and takae it away?

Ie: fire at mt margi

We are talking about the crux of it as downgrading services, majority of people would find that concerning

Voting on the mayors amendment

Lost 2-4, milne and chris were for

Back to the original motion

Passed 5-2 cheery against, milne as well

Break at 7pm



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