By Luis Feliu
Tweed Shire Council will defend a legal challenge to its rejection of a controversial bid by a water-extraction company at rural Bilambil to boost the size of its transport trucks from six to 19 metres and upgrade the road leading to its plant.
Development applications for the bigger trucks and upgrade by the Karlos family business at Urliup Road, which has been extracting millions of lires of underground water there for years, was knocked back by Tweed shire councillors last Thursday (Crs Warren Polglase, Pryce Allsop against).
The family soon after challenged the decision in the the Land and Environment Court and the business will carry on using six-metre trucks for up to 12 trips per day (six deliveries), to the water it extracts.
Cr Ron Cooper told councillors it would be irresponsible of council to make ratepayers pay the estimated cost of $1 million per kilometre to improve Urliup Road ‘just for one business’.
Crs Polglase and Allsop unsuccessfully tried to amend the recommendation to allow for 10-metre trucks.
Council staff say Urliup Road is not considered suitable to accommodate 19-metre trucks and approval would not be in the public interest due to overall safety issues.
The proposed development also did not satisfy local planning requiremnts over suitable road access.
‘The development poses an unacceptable direct, indirect and cumulative impact
on significant local ecological values including threatened species, their habitats
and Endangered and Threatened Ecological Communities listed under the
Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and/or Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and as such fails to satisfy Section 5A of the
EP&A Act,’ the staff report said.