Organisers of a campaign to save one of the Tweed coast’s last remaining open Crown beachfront reserves from development say they have amassed a staggering 5,000 signatures on their petition to keep the site as a reserve and wildlife corridor.
Three months ago, developer Leighton Properties, which was behind a controversial plan for a $100 million resort on the prime 42-hectare public reserve just south of Kingscliff, pulled the pin on the proposal.
That left the door open for the area, known as Lot 490, to be maintained as a nature corridor or developed as a low-key holiday retreat, as touted by pro-development councillors, but Tweed Shire Council is yet to discuss what options it could recommend to the state government for the site.
Two months ago Tweed councillors voted to hold a workshop on the issue ‘as soon as possible’, arrange a public meeting with Tweed coast resident groups to discuss possible future uses for the site and prepare a report outlining the outcomes of the workshop and public meeting.
But at July’s Council meeting, staff said the proposed workshop ,which was to be held on August 1, has been ‘deferred due to other pressing Council commitments’.
The organisers behind the Save Our Lot 490 campaign say the petition, which has been running for only three weeks, has impressed them with a sizable percentage of the shire’s population signing up.
Co-ordinator Jerry Cornford said, ‘we believe it’s a record response for a local-issue petition in such a short time’.
‘The number of signatures is well in excess of the adult population of Kingscliff and represents more than ten per cent of the adult population of The Tweed,’ Mr Cornford said.
‘Our Lot 490’s aim is to persuade the state government and Council that the Crown land and coastal reserve that lies between the south side of the Cudgen Creek Bridge and the northern boundary of SALT, should remain as a coastal reserve and wildlife corridor available to all the community.’
Mr Cornford said the petition had also impressed Tweed MP Geoff Provest, who met campaigners this week, and commented on ‘the weight of support the petition had generated’.
‘Mr Provest said he was looking forward to working with Our 490, the council and the Department of Lands to try to achieve the outcome the community was indicating was their preference for the land,’ he said.
‘Our Lot 490 will be urging Council to endorse a new plan of management for Lot 490 during their workshop on the issue next month and to reveal that at a subsequent public meeting.
‘In the meantime the petition campaign will continue. Anyone wishing to sign may visit Zanzibar Cafe, Boardwalk Books, Healthy Life or Surf’s Up in Kingscliff or the New Leaf Cafe and the Caldera Centre in Murwillumbah.’
The Leightons resort plan for 127 units and facilities was approved last August by the state’s Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) despite widespread opposition from residents and environmental groups.
Leighton Properties has secured a 99-year-lease over the site after the state government promised to use the income from the development for the upkeep of the Tweed’s coastal Crown lands and reserves.