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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Tweed Council calls on govt to reconsider police site

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[author]Staff reporters[/author]

Tweed Shire Council will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Monday in a bid to firm up a suitable alternative site for the Tweed Byron Local Area Command headquarters to Kingscliff Police Station, which has received approval from the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

A resolution passed at the November council meeting, and spearheaded by Cr Warren Polglase, called on the minister to ditch the proposed Kingscliff site and to re-examine five sites already identified.

Council staff were ordered to prepare reports on four sites: the controversial Cudgen site, a nearby site at the corner of Cudgen Road and Tweed Coast Road, RTA land at Chinderah and RTA land near the Clothiers Creek interchange.

A combined chamber of commerce deputation, including Cr Kevin Skinner, visited Parliament last Friday to ask the police minister to consider other sites.

The region’s top cops have declared four of the proposed sites unsuitable but plumped for a site on state-significant farmland, which has links to former long-serving MP Don Beck. The Cudgen land was acquired by the Kingscliff Land Company (KLC) in 2004 from Mr Beck’s wife and her sisters for $4.5 million.

The company, whose directors now include Mr Beck, also offered a further $5 million if it could be rezoned for urban purposes.

The police made Kingscliff a surprise choice after Tweed planners and the former government rejected the rezoning attempt at Cudgen.

The Joint Regional Planning Planning Panel (JRPP) has given approval for the $15 million centre to be built on the existing police station site in Marine Parade despite concerns by planning staff and residents that it was incompatible with its tourist strip location and too far from the highway.

The decision to revisit only the original sites has sparked renewed calls to broaden the search to include other locations apparently overlooked by the police, with former mayor Max Boyd saying land around Pacific Highway interchange at Cabarita is an obvious pick.

‘There’s plenty of room, it’s flood free and it’s centrally located,’ said Mr Boyd, who believes it would be a folly for police to revisit the Cudgen site and possibly try a last-ditch rezoning bid in a test of the new government’s stand on protected farmland.

‘Other [sites] are more suitable’

‘There doesn’t seem to be any good reasons to restrict the site to the handful that were identified by the police. There are others that are more suitable,’ he said.

Retired Kingscliff police sergeant Ian Spiers told the JRPP plans to plonk the centre in the middle of Kingscliff were a ‘terrible mistake’ and urged police to examine an RTA-owned site at the Chinderah highway interchange.

Well-placed sources say a senior cop admitted he was unaware of the Cudgen land’s unique status before $20,000 was spent on the failed rezoning, later derided by Mr Provest as ‘like tearing up $20 bills on top of the Opera House.’

But a Labor MP accused Mr Provest of lobbying for the KLC site after the new government was elected in March, comparing him to a character from the film Muriels Wedding.

Mr Beck earned a public rebuke when JRRP chairman Garry West revealed that he had phoned him to spruik the advantages of KLC’s land on the eve of the determination of the Kingscliff application.

Meanwhile, Kingsliff residents and businesspeople will hold a rally outside the local police station in Marine Parade on Saturday at 11am to protest against the building of the proposed command centre there.

Image: Kingscliff Chamber of Commerce members including Cr Kevin Skinner getting their placards ready for tomorrows protest at Kingscliff Police Station. Photo Jeff ‘Stick em up’ Dawson

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