Critics claim a massive hillside estate proposed at Terranora for nearly 1,800 homes, known as Area E, will be overdeveloped and runoff from roads and gardens will further pollute the already-stressed Terranora Broadwater
But Tweed councillors have been limited in their influence over housing density, which has already been set by the NSW Planning Department.
The massive housing estate is now just one step away from getting final approval after Tweed councillors voted to submit the controversial project’s development control plan to the state government.
The government is expected to give it the green light later this year.
But council planning staff are still seeking higher-than-usual infrastructure fees from the numerous landowners, needed because of steep terrain over much of the 296-hectare site.
Bounded by Mahers Lane, Terranora Road, Fraser Drive and the Terranora Broadwater, the estate will eventually house 4,000-odd extra residents.
It was once prime agricultural land, famed for its tomatoes, but was earmarked for housing two decades ago and rezoned by the state government in 2007.
According to council planners, there are strict guidelines for the project’s ‘significant bushland, wetlands and other land of high ecological value’, but Greens Cr Katie Milne recently criticised the design for its limited wildlife corridors.
‘If you don’t have wildlife corridors you don’t have wildlife,’ Cr Milne told the December council meeting.
She said a map of the hillside showed housing ‘straight across the site’.
‘There is nothing progressive about the design. There has been no attempt to create a development with low carbon emissions,’ said Cr Milne.
‘Environmentalist are also concerned about the health of the broadwater, which is already suffering from pollution.’
Mayor Barrry Longland later defended the final design, saying it was an exaggeration to claim there were no wildlife corridors across Area E, as much open space remained.
Cr Longland said that busy Terranora Road, rather than a lack of wildlife corridors, posed the greatest danger to Terranora’s koalas.
‘I don’t think anything in the design of Area E makes it particularly perilous to wildlife. On our roads is where most koalas are killed,’ he said.
Cr Dot Holdom told the December council meeting she didn’t want Area E developed, but it was pointless to oppose it.
‘This is a reality. It was decided a long time ago,’ she said.
‘It was a pleasure to read the DCP. When you see good work [by council planners] you should acknowledge it.’
Three-storey homes will be permitted over much of the estate, with a maximum of four storeys around the area earmarked for the village centre.
Tweed Shire Council recently asked the state government to further increase the cap on developer infrastructure contributions by an extra $16,000 per lot because of the steep topography across much of Area E.
Council planning staff say that because of the steep slopes, the cost of providing infrastructure will surpass the normal level of developer contributions.
The contribution cap increased from $20,000 to $30,000 about a year ago after several NSW councils complained it was not enough to provide infrastructure on many greenfield housing estates.
Council is now proposing to ask for more than $56,000 per lot after calculating just how much the Area E infrastructure will cost – and that does not include providing water and sewerage.
Extra funds needed
The extra funds will also pay for three sports fields, several parks, stormwater drains and drainage channels.
Money will also be needed to build a new road and three bridges, one of them 40 metres long.
Without a boost to developer contributions to build the infrastructure, the financial burden for much of the housing development would be thrust on ratepayers.
The exact route of a road along the foreshore, to be called Broadwater Parkway, has also yet to be determined.