Tweed in Sydney's control
A STAGGERING list of Tweed developments worth more than $4.7 billion is currently in the hands of the State Government and our local elected representatives get no say in whether any of it goes ahead.
As government officers from Sydney try and decide what is best for a shire 850km away, Tweed Shire councillors have urged Planning Minister Kristina Keneally to visit the Tweed and see for herself the potential impact of the developments.
The list of developments under consideration on the NSW Department of Planning website amounts to a value that nudges $5 billion (listed at right).
Among them are three new towns at Kings Forest ($1.5bil), Cobaki ($2bil) and Bilambil ($1.2bil).
Should the new townships be given the green light, they will help Tweed's population to grow by a projected 38 per cent within 15 years to 110,000 people.
According to the department, the need for 19,000 more homes on the Tweed has been identified.
Other more “moderate” developments on the list are among the most controversial to be proposed for the Tweed in years, including the tourist resort at Kingscliff's Lot 490.
Councillor Dot Holdom said she would be more than happy to share a cup of tea with the minister should she take up the invitation.
“I think if you want to understand where you are up to in the scheme of things, there is only one way to do that and that is to see it for yourself,” Cr Holdom said.
Cr Holdom was confident the Tweed would be able to work its way through a massive stage of growth.
“These are not things that are going to happen overnight, they are staged developments and there is a lot of work to do ... but can we do it? Yes we can.”
Mayor Warren Polglase said local councils often became clouded with politics when it came to making decisions on big projects.
“We made a submission with council and that will be considered along with many other submissions,” Cr Polglase said.
“What can't happen is the development gets bogged down with splinter politics.”
“By having an independent panel they can look at a development in a completely different light and look at its merit against the policies of the government of the day.”
Councillor Barry Longland anticipated the minister would take up the invitation to visit the Tweed.
“One of the big issues is local context and that is something that has got to be taken into account,” Mr Longland said.
“The concern is these people don't understand the local area, unfortunately, and they don't understand what we are trying to achieve on the Tweed ... but we are getting across to them how important we think it is.”
The Department said yesterday a special regional team, covering the Tweed area, provided important support and advice on the assessment of any major project proposed in the region.