Slide legal stoush lands council in troubled waters
DISPUTE over a water slide could cost ratepayers up to $60,000 in legal fees after Tweed Shire Council rejected a revised application for the redevelopment of the children's feature at Hastings Point Big 4 Caravan Park.
Mayor Katie Milne used her casting vote at Thursday's council meeting to rule against council staff recommendations to allow the park to redevelop its popular water slide.
This is the second time the council has knocked back the park's application on the matter after rejecting an earlier DA in July.
Councillors voted 3:3 on the issue after Cr Chris Cherry was forced to excuse herself from chambers after declaring a perception of pecuniary interest because she owns and manages the nearby Wooyung Beach Holiday Park.
Hastings Point Big 4 Park manager Ian Beadel said he wasn't able to comment on the council's latest decision to reject the DA but confirmed legal proceedings would go ahead in the Land and Environment Court on January 18, 2017.
"We're well down the track and looking forward to our day down there,” Mr Beadel said.
Big 4 staff member John Hughes told councillors during the earlier community access meeting the park would prefer not to go to court.
"We would prefer our money to go into the shire instead of the legal system,” Mr Hughes said.
The council's planning and regulation director Vince Connell said he was unsure how much legal proceedings would cost.
"Given that the officers won't be defending the appeal, given that they've suggested approval, I would estimate $40,000 to $60,000 in legal fees,” Mr Connell said.
"That might be conservative. There's no clear path, I'm not aware of any precedent.”
Cr Milne said she was concerned for residents who would have to put up with extra noise.
"My overriding concern is that we have a responsibility to the residents and the quality of life they bought into,” Cr Milne sad.
But Cr Pryce Allsop, who voted in favour of the DA, said residents should have been conscious of the caravan park when buying their properties.