Massive developments approved for the Tweed could be improved and made more sustainable under a plan by the Greens for a special taskforce to look into them.
Two huge housing estates for around 10,000 extra homes, by the one developer, for Cobaki on the border with the Gold Coast, and Kings Forest southwest of Kingscliff, are in the pipeline and it’s feared will create major environmental impacts.
NSW Greens MLC John Kaye last week visited Cudgen Lake at Cudgen Nature Reserve with Tweed Greens lead candidate Cr Katie Milne and her No. 2 on the council poll ticket, Joanna Gardner.
The lake, they say is one of the shire’s natural jewels under threat as it’s right next to the proposed Kings Forest development to house up to 15,000 people.
Dr Kaye told media that Cudgen Lake is ‘on the edge of a major disaster’.
He said the lake strugggled to cope with the pressure of intense development in its catchment and hads suffered massive fish kills over the years as a result.
One of these was in 1988, when tens of thousands of fish died from acidic water caused by acid sulphate soils from development and nutrient overload from agricultural land.
Dr Kaye says that unless there’s a complete rethink of new housing development standards, ecological catastrophes will become commonplace.
‘Water usage, energy consumption, traffic generation and nutrient run-off into waterways will have to be managed to world’s best practice,’ he said.
‘Major developments are being approved in this unique place without the benefit of best practice planning, adequate wildlife corridors, and modern water conservation practices.’
Dr Kaye said the Tweed was the country’s third most significant biodiversity hotspot and it made sense to ‘treat this area with special consideration’ and that ‘developers should not be allowed to cut corners to boost their profits’.
‘The rethink must go beyond just the elected council. Staff will need to be retrained in 21st century water conservation and re-use, energy efficiency and environmental performance.
‘The world has moved on and without the taskforce Katie Milne has proposed, there is a real danger that the Tweed will be left behind.’