Greens councillor Katie Milne has described the Leda document as a ‘diversionary tactic’ to distract attention from illegal clearing in the Cudgen Nature Reserve next to the company’s Kings Forest development site.
‘This clearing in the nature reserve is currently under investigation by the NSW Office of Environment. The only entry point for the heavy machinery required would have been through the Kings Forest property,’ said Cr Milne, who was criticised in Leda’s 74-page document.
‘It seems to me that this report was rushed out as a diversionary tactic to provide a smokescreen for the clearing. There is no author, name of any company, address, publishing details, nothing. The only identifiers are a cover letter from Leda referring to an attached report.’
Cr Milne said claims council planners have ‘a Green tinge’ were ridiculous, as Tweed Greens were devastated that both the council planners and the state government had approved the contentious developments.
‘Leda’s claims of bias are particularly ironic. Leda is closely connected to North Steyne, the company who was the largest donor to the ‘Tweed Directions’ pro-development election campaign that led to the 2004 council being sacked.
‘The public inquiry found that the Tweed Directions organisation had used developers’ funds to deceive the people of the Tweed for the sole purpose of creating a developer bias. Leda and North Steyne have also been two of the larger donors to both NSW Labor and Liberal parties.
‘It appears that Leda have been spending thousands of dollars on FOI requests, relentlessly checking on council staff and other people who were concerned about their developments.’
Cr Milne said Mr Ell’s righthand man Reg Van Rij had himself described his boss as having ‘deep pockets, a stubborn personality and a litigious nature’ in the Sydney Morning Herald (November 8, 2004).