17.9 C
Byron Shire
May 16, 2021

Resort plan ‘bound to fail’

Latest News

Bluesfest announces October dates for 2021 festival

After two disappointing cancelations of their event, Bluesfest has announced that they will hold the 2021 festival over the...

Other News

Police chase ends in head-on car and truck crash

Police have declared a critical incident investigation after a car chase in Ballina ended in a crash Friday night.

A grubby business

Cr Cate Coorey, Byron Shire Council Among the reasons Simon Richardson gave for his retirement from the mayoralty was the...

OCA a ‘diamond in the rough’

Around four years ago a group of like-minded friends started a Syntropic Farm project. Since that time, they have...

Cocaine bust in Byron Shire, 7 men arrested

Police say two separate investigations into the ongoing supply of cocaine in the Byron Bay area have led to charges against seven men.

How much do you know about koalas?

How well do you know your koala facts? Test your knowledge at the June 2 Koala Hard Quiz in Mullumbimby.

Marvell Hall’s ‘Dangerously Poetic’ fundraiser

This Sunday Marvell Hall will host a tribute to some of the street-named fellows with poetry, music and portraits as a fundraiser for the hall.

Luis Feliu

The upkeep of Tweed Shire’s public coastal lands and reserves could suffer unless promised funding from the development of a controversial tourist resort on Crown beachfront land south of Kingscliff, known as Lot 490, is handed over by the state.

That’s the fear expressed by councillors, senior staff and local community groups ahead of tomorrow’s NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) public hearing on the long-running plans for the 44-hectare site between Kingscliff and Salt.

But critics also say the resort plan, like many other recent ones along the Tweed Coast, is simply not financially viable and bound to fail.

Today, Tweed Shire Council planners will meet with the PAC hearing’s chair Paul Forward and fellow commissioner Abigail Goldberg to discuss what the shire could be expected to get from the lease of the reserve and its development into a $105 million resort.

The development proposal by Leighton Properties Pty Ltd was considered by the planning minister under the contentious Part 3A of the Environmental and Planning Assessment Act, but was referred to the PAC due to the level of public interest.

The planning department has recommended approval for the resort on Casuarina Way, but knocked back the number of originally-proposed units and bungalows from 180 to 127 from concerns over environmental impact.

The development of the prime site bounded by Cudgen Creek and the beach at south Kingscliff, with Casuarina Way dissecting it, has been been mired in controversy since it was first mooted over 15 years ago.

Locals claimed public land was being taken over for private use, and the state government intervened over the road’s realignment.

Council’s chief planner Vince Connell said council had made its concerns clear about the development in previous submissions to the department, which had since reduced the scale of the resort.

But expectations the Tweed would benefit with the resort set to provide a major funding boost for managing coastal public reserves are now in doubt.

Undertaking

‘There was a previous undertaking by the state government that funds from the development of the site would be put back for the wider restoration and maintenance of the Tweed’s public coastal areas, that was the position several years ago by the state government, but that benefit could now go to the state,’ Mr Connell said.

Watchdog group Tweed Monitor says the state appears to have thrown out the very principles by which the prime site would be developed by ditching a promise for a continuing income stream to the shire for the upkeep of Crown lands and that the resort would be a ‘low-impact, eco tourism facility’.

Spokesman Jerry Cornford said the proposal ‘was formulated for the sole purpose of providing revenue for state government coffers’ and there was no financial due diligence of the proposal.

‘There is not a singe word or sentence, not a single financial projection of what, if anything, the resort will deliver,’ Mr Cornford said.

‘Leightons placed great emphasis on the fact that they needed 187 units to make the resort in any way financially viable. The provisional acceptance has reduced the number of units to 127, by nearly one third.  If 187 units were only just viable, how can 127 units possibly qualify?

‘This proposal was formulated pre-GFC in a financial universe which does not now exist, and will not exist for decades to come.

Resorts fail

‘Every tourist resort from Murphys Road in Kingscliff to The Point at Hastings Point has been in either administration or receivership since 2002. The existing facilities struggle to maintain a 505 occupancy rate. The last thing this coast needs is another competing resort.’

Mr Cornford said evidence from the environment department showed Lot 490 qualified as a vital wildlife corridor, and as the habitat of at least 12 endangered species.

‘The department’s own guidelines state that on these two criteria alone, this application should be refused.

‘The birds, wallabies and snakes that populate the site can currently range from Cudgen Headland up to Cudgen Lakes and further west into the hinterland between the coast and the Pacific Motorway.

‘If this site is cleared, they will be condemned to a slow death on the Cudgen Headland, by starvation, road kill and lack of a variety of breeding partners to continue their lines. Their last possible retreat, to the west, will be cut off by Kings Forest.

‘Crown lands and coastal reserves are not the province of any government or council to dole out to private individuals or corporations. Their very definition is that they be held in trust for the enjoyment and free access of all Australians, human and otherwise.’

Council staff will attend the public meeting tomorrow as observers.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Here we go again, lack of foresight, overcrowding the foreshore, depressed market. The developers can’t sell latest stock. Obviously the environment is the last hurdle for councillors and developers need worry about for they are blinded by the almighty dollar.

  2. It’s probably a done deal and already decided by the PAC just as the Spledour site at Yelgun was. The community’s public hearing will be just a PAC public relations deal.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Power outage in Byron Shire

Power supply company Essential Energy says that approximately 1,780 homes and businesses were without supply this morning.

Filming of Byron Baes begins with no indigenous consultation

Filming of the Netflix series Byron Baes has reportedly commenced without any effort made by the show's production company – Eureka Productions – to consult with local indigenous groups or the local Council.

Byron Comedy Festival launched with a laugh

At a hilarious sold-out launch of the Byron Comedy Festival, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki had the entire Byron Bay Surf Club giggling last night

School Strike for Climate next Friday

Next Friday from 10am Byron Shire students will be demanding political action on the climate emergency in what they and their supporters say is our present, future and reality.