7 C
Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Kingy resort plan ‘a ripoff’

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

Tweed residents facing rate rise in 2021/2022 financial year

Tweed residents are invited to provide feedback on their council's budget, revenue policy and fees and charges, as Tweed Council prepares to finalise its delivery program and operational plan for the next financial year.

Free mental health workshop for Byron businesses

Business owners in Byron Shire are invited to attend a free 'Healthy Mindset' workshop aimed at providing them with resources and tools to improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as the opportunity to connect with other business owners.

Exotic and hybrid

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay I was shocked to see the abundant exotic and hybrid plantings at Byron’s new bus interchange. As...

NewsCorp announces August revival of regional news print in QLD

Less than a week after the two major NewsCorp-owned outlets on the Northern Rivers lost their websites and redirected readers via The Daily Telegraph (TDT), sister publications in Queensland announced almost the opposite.

A hands up poll

Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page, Byron Bay Hands up everyone who wants another high-end tourist resort in Byron: a place...

Power outage in Byron Shire

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

Luis Feliu

Campaigners fighting to preserve one of the Tweed Coast’s last coastal reserves claim that previously secret documents reveal the public would have been ripped off under a deal to develop the land into a tourist resort.

The Save Lot 490 group say that in return for the $5.2 million pledged to the Tweed under the lease of the prime beachfront land south of Kingscliff, the community would have received only a public toilet block and a car park.

The developer behind the controversial plan to develop the 42-hectare Crown reserve into a tourist resort, Leighton Properties, earlier this year pulled the pin on the plan.

The move was welcomed by many locals as it left the door open for the land to be kept as a nature corridor or open recreation space.

Save Lot 490 spokesman Jerry Cornford said that after repeated requests under Freedom of Information, the documents relating to the withdrawn lease were released, but raised serious questions as to why the previous state government entered into the deal.

Mr Cornford said the developer had twice tried to block release of the documents, claiming they were ‘commercial in confidence’, but the public-interest argument won the day.

Lot490

‘The most damning facts to emerge are that in return for the $5.2 million pledged for “community benefit” under the lease, the  Kingscliff community would potentially have received only a public toilet block and a car park, and that under the agreement all proceeds would have gone to consolidated revenue,’ he said.

‘No mention is made of funds going to the local council or economy for the upkeep of Crown lands, supposedly the whole purpose of building a resort.

Ecotourism

‘Any development of the Crown land and coastal reserve between the south side of Cudgen Creek bridge and the northern boundary of Salt had to comply with the plan of management, which contained many terms and conditions.

‘The primary condition was that the land be used for ecotourism. The plan of management, prepared under government supervision in 2005, defined this as “ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that fosters environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation”.

‘The question now being asked by the Save Lot 490 group is how did Leighton’s proposed building of 180 dwellings comply with the plan of management’s objectives?’

Mr Cornford said this ‘raises the serious question as to why Leighton’s apparently non-conforming tender was accepted over other complying tenders’.

‘In addition, the first lease between the parties was so flawed it was substituted for a project development agreement.

‘The FOI documentation shows the construction lease had two major shortcomings.

‘First, the application of the revenue rent formula resulted in the rent being $122,000 per annum non-indexed for the 70-year term of the agreement.

‘Second, the Crown had to buy back resort assets at 30 per cent of their value in 70 years, a huge potential liability for the Crown,’ Mr Cornford said.

‘The 490 group questions why anyone would invest in a leasehold property when they could buy a freehold property for less,’ he said.

‘The Project Development Agreement also eventually proved non-viable for the tenderer and Leightons withdrew from the agreement earlier this year after failing to meet two sunset clauses relating to the start of construction.’

Meanwhile, a public petition calling for the retention of the land as a public bushland park and wildlife habitat has reached almost 8,000 signatures.

 


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.

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.