Thumbs down for cop shop
THE future of a new Tweed Byron police headquarters has been left up in the air after Joint Regional Planning Panel members last night deferred any decision on approving the controversial building proposed for the beachfront at Kingscliff.
The five planning panel members refused to give the green light to a development application for the proposed two-storey $8 million complex after hearing concerns from both Tweed Shire Council planners and members of the public about car parking.
They were told police officers and visitors to the centre would have to park their cars in surrounding streets or even in a public car park set aside for beach goers.
The panel deferred consideration of the application to a date to be set after planning consultants for the police agreed to negotiate with council planners on the issue of car parking.
Nearby resident and body corporate chairman for the Waves home unit complex Ken Humphrey estimated the police headquarters would require up to 85 car parking spaces in surrounding streets after taking into consideration the needs of police staff , higher demand during changes of shift, and visitors.
"Residents in the immediate area will have no available street parking," Mr Humphrey told the panel.
Questioned by panel member and former Tweed Shire Council general manager Dr John Griffin about the availability car parking spaces on-site, acting superintendent Greg Jago revealed "Police Force policy is on-site parking is not provided for staff."
He said the Police Force also banned customer parking on station grounds.
Panel member and former Byron Shire Council general manager Pamela Westing voiced alarm that staff could be forced to park opposite the station in a public car park on crown land near the beach.
She said no commercial development would be allowed to use a crown reserve in that way adding: "Beaches aren't getting any bigger. In fact they are getting smaller".
Another member Steven Grimes said he hoped the state government would eventually build a different "mega complex" nearer a major road for police, ambulance and fire services.
That proposal was put by several members of the public including former police officer Ian Spiers who said he compiled a submission in 1994 suggesting the Kingscliff police, fire and ambulance sites be sold to establish a "multi purpose centre on RTA land at Chinderah".
Mr Spiers said the RTA site was still available and in 1994 it was estimated the sale of the Kingscliff properties would raise $4.5million.
Kingscliff resident Ron Knox said the proposed complex would be "a mammoth monolith totally out of character with the area".