Tweed attractive to GC developers

A PROMINENT Gold Coast town planner says Tweed Heads is being looked upon more favourably as the place to do business by property developers losing patience with Gold Coast City Council.

In a stunning twist to claims by developers for years that planning regulations in NSW and the Tweed have forced developments and investors north of the border, president of Sustainable Development Gold Coast Inc Greg Short now says the Tweed is the place to be.

Mr Short said Gold Coast City Council should do an independent study on the possible damage to the tourist city's economy by the impact of its controversial new charges on development for its so-called “Priority Infrastructure Projects Plan' .

He said such a study would likely confirm countless building projects are being pulled out of the Gold Coast and taken to Tweed Heads, Ipswich and other places “where the investment and subsequent building industry job creation is more welcomed with open arms”.

Mr Short said his sustainable development group recently commissioned an independent study of infrastructure charges across five local government areas, including Tweed.

The Brisbane researchers found Gold Coast City was charging up to 200 per cent higher than even Brisbane City Council for comparable projects.

“The council is considering a 12-month review of its policy, finally recognising that its decisions are hurting the local economy,” said Mr Short.

But he feared the review may simply blame the pain on the world financial crisis “when in fact our industry has said as far back as 2007 when the Priority Infrastructure Plan charges were introduced that the way they were calculated was unfair”.

“The proof of our argument was delivered in a damning 70-page independent study and report done by a respected property research company,” he said.

“Apart from building projects taken into the Tweed and even further south as well as to the burgeoning city of Ipswich west of Brisbane, many developers have put economy building jobs on hold.

“Some are in court fighting the council and some are stuck for many months within the council's planning departments where inertia seems to rule.”

Mr Short said the impact of the global financial crisis had made a difficult situation worse.

The situation was so serious that his not-for-profit Sustainable Development group has organised an historic full-day regional development conference called Turning Point 2010 at the Marriott Resort Hotel in Surfers Paradise on Thursday week

Tweed Economic Development Corporation CEO Tom Senti is taking a team of eight people to the conference where Peter Mitchell, a prominent Murwillumbah industrial estate developer, is one of the front line speakers.

Mr Short said every Gold Coast city councillor had been invited to attend and listen to “serious discussion on issues that are holding the city back”.

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