Six news bites from around the region you might have missed
1. New processes for council applications to be introduced in 2021
RESIDENTS and businesses can continue lodging development and building-related applications through the Tweed Shire Council web-based planning portal until the end of the year.
In response to a recent State Government mandate, from January 1, 2021 applications for development, construction certificates for building works, complying development certificates, and private certifier certificates will need to be lodged via the NSW Planning Portal.
From January 1 the NSW Planning Portal will be the only place to make these lodgements, however the council will still determine applications as it does currently.
Planning and regulation director Vince Connell said initially the NSW Government advised that this change would start on 1 July 2021 but it has now been bought forward.
“The decision to bring forward the start date is likely to result in a disruption and some delays of the council’s assessment services due to the current high volume of applications and the need to modify the council’s administrative systems,” he said.
For further information, visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/PreliminaryApplicationSubmission
2. Have your say on road design to improve Tumbulgum exit
COMMUNITY members have the chance to have their say on plans to improve safety at the intersection of Tweed Valley Way and Riverside Dr (north) at Tumbulgum.
Residents can view the concept design for this federally funded Black Spot upgrade at yoursaytweed.com.au/blackspot and make comment by October 30.
One of the main safety improvements proposed is to close direct access from the Farmers’ Market on to Tweed Valley Way.
Roads and stormwater manager Danny Rose said Tweed Shire Council intended to close this access by installing guardrail along Tweed Valley Way.
“This means access to the market will be from Riverside Drive only. We have had a number of unsafe incidents and close calls from people trying to exit the market into the higher speed traffic on Tweed Valley Way,” he said.
Another safety improvement sought will be to provide greater separation of the left-turn lane into Riverside Drive from the through-lanes on Tweed Valley Way to improve sight distances.
The Black Spot project will also allow a longer deceleration lane to turn into Riverside Drive
realign Riverside Drive to allow a straighter approach for traffic turning right on to Tweed Valley Way.
An improved acceleration lane on Tweed Valley Way for traffic turning left from Riverside Drive will be provided.
Tweed Valley Way can be widened to accommodate these safety improvements, a nearby culvert will be upgraded.
The culvert work will start later this month with the Black Spot works due to begin in early December.
3. Tweed urged to sign up to Water Night as water use spikes
TWEED residents are urged to switch their water-using autopilot off as average daily consumption hits 199 litres per person per day and sign on for Water Night this Thursday.
The shire’s water consumption target is at 160L per person per day and at this rate our water supply will last 12 months after the council starts releasing water from Clarrie Hall Dam to supplement Tweed River flows.
The council started releasing water from the dam last week.
Water and wastewater operations manager Brie Jowett said without rain soon, “we are again on the countdown to water restrictions and our water consumption rates are sky high”.
“These rates shout that we are wasting water,” she said
Mrs Jowett is urging every household in the Tweed to join Water Night to learn just how much we take for granted the fact that when we flick that tap, water will always come out.
“That is not the fact for much of the world,” she said.
On Water Night, residents are meant to stop reaching for the tap and instead use just one 10L bucket of water for all your household needs between 5pm and 5am.
This is with the exception of drinking water, hand washing for COVID care, religious purposes and flush if you must.
Late last week, across NSW some 160 families had signed up to support the national water awareness initiative being conducted by not-for-profit water efficiency experts Smart Approved WaterMark and sponsored by Tweed Shire Council.
To register and download all the tips and aids to help switch off your water-using autopilot, go to www.waternight.com.au
4. Young Archie competition open for entries
NORTHERN Rivers and Gold Coast budding artists can now enter their portrait skills into the Young Archie competition.
The competition, open to those between the ages of five and 18, is part of the 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour that will be on display at Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre from January 22 until March 7, 2021.
Gallery director Susi Muddiman OAM said the Young Archie competition is open to residents of the Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Kyogle shires, Lismore City and the Gold Coast.
“This is an amazing opportunity for young artists to be involved in a prestigious prize and showcase the talent we have in our region. The portrait should be of someone who is known to them and plays a significant role in their lives,” she said.
“The competition will be judged based on merit and originality by renowned artist Victoria Reichelt, who will also have a solo exhibition at the Gallery at the time of the 2020 Archibald Prize Regional Tour.
“The finalists from each category will have the honour of being exhibited at Tweed Regional Gallery.”
There are four age categories for the Young Archie competition ranging from 5-8 years old up to 16-18 years old and entry is free of charge.
One winner will be chosen in each category and will receive prizes provided by the exhibition sponsor ANZ Bank and Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.
Download entry forms at artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au/YoungArchie
5. More free legal support for the Northern Rivers
SURVIVORS of domestic and family violence and those who have been impacted by COVID-19 in the Tweed will benefit from a funding boost to the state’s community legal assistance sector.
Member for Tweed Geoff Provest said the NSW Government’s allocation of $5.43 million in Commonwealth funding to the State’s community legal centres will support people in Northern Rivers experiencing disadvantage and discrimination.
“The global health and economic crises have had a profound impact on the Northern Rivers, with people across our community facing job losses, tenancy issues and financial insecurity,” Mr Provest said.
“This funding injection will support our hardworking community legal centres, including the Northern Rivers Community Legal Centre, to provide free legal help to those most in need in the community.”
Attorney-General and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence Mark Speakman said almost 80 per cent of this funding has been allocated to services for people facing domestic and family violence.
“Recent alarming reports have suggested the pandemic is increasing the risk of domestic abuse in the home,” Mr Speakman said.
“This investment will help victim-survivors get the legal support they need, hold perpetrators to account and ultimately save lives.”
Funding will benefit a range of specialist centres providing targeted support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, seniors, people with disabilities, young people and migrants and refugees, as well as to generalist centres.
6. Free Mental Health Support for Northern NSW Residents in Aged Care Facilities
FREE counselling and psychological support services are now avaliable to people in residential aged care facilities along the North Coast thanks to a funding boost.
Healthy North Coast provided the cash splash through its Primary Health Network which is being delivered in Northern NSW by registered charity Change Futures Ltd.
Change Futures provides mental health services to the community through individual and group programs delivered by psychologists.
Their Wellbeing Support Service offers free, evidence-based individual and group counselling and psychological therapies tailored to the needs of people living in aged care.
Aged care residents previously had to pay for these services.
HNC chief executive Julie Sturgess said the program had been beneficial to residents in
responding to the potential for increased distress because of social isolation caused by
“Currently, aged care residents are not eligible for mental health services under the
government’s Better Access mental health initiative, unlike older people living in the
community. This service is a positive change for RACF residents,” she said.
Change Futures executive director Julie Aganoff said many experience grief and loss, and it takes time to adjust to a different way of living when moving from homes into aged care.
“This service helps ease some of the distress experienced by new residents,” she said.
“Many of the older people living in aged care have had to deal with a lot of challenges in their lives, often without asking for help. Some can be experiencing anxiety or depression, either as a result of their new circumstances or sometimes this has been a longer-term issue
“What we love to see is the capacity of even very old people to grow and change, to learn
new ways of thinking and increase their understanding of themselves.”
Ms Sturgess said the service had been established after a successful 2019 trial involving
nine RACFs from Kempsey to Tweed Heads.