Kingscliff’s Save Our Lot 490 group has released its own draft concept plan aimed at increasing recreational access and preserving the conservation values of the coastal reserve they have been fighting to protect from development.
The group hopes the architect-prepared plans will serve as a blueprint for Tweed Shire Council and the state government in planning for future use of the contentious 40-hectare parcel of land between Kingscliff and Salt, one of the last remaining beachfront bush reserves in the area.
The plan features increased parking and access to Kingscliff South Beach, a series of walking and cycle tracks, dedicated protection areas for endangered plants, and enhanced planting of native plants and trees to support the Glossy Black Cockatoo, two species of wallaby, blossom bats and other birds and animals.
An Aboriginal land claim over the land has to be settled first before any development goes ahead and Council in January resolved to look into buying the land from the state government as well as signifying Council’s preference in preserving the site as a public open space and recreation reserve.
Late last year, in a shock to Save Our Lot 490 campaigners, the state government controversially changed the status of the block east of Casuarina Way (the beachfront) to ‘government property’, a move seen by campaigners as trying to thwart the locals’ ambition, given it followed a petition that in a short time drew more than 10,000 signatures.
The beachfront part of the land had been originally earmarked for leasing as a resort by Leightons Properties before the company suddenly pulled the pin on the project early last year.
Save Our Lot 490 spokesman Ron Cooper said if Council were handed back control of the site, the plan could be implemented in stages ‘to cater for the growing population of Kingscliff and Salt and the pressure on coastal access resulting from the proposed Kings Forest development’.
Mr Cooper said the first stage would include an entry point and increased off-road parking at the northern end of the site providing access to South Beach ‘and walking tracks through Lot 490 to recreational areas using existing shade trees augmented by many extra plantings’.
‘This would be followed by cycle tracks and more walkways providing protected viewing of the endangered plants, and increased access to shade and picnic areas,’ he said.
‘The final stages, if and when the population warranted, would include parking and vehicle access to the east of the beachfront and toward the centre of the block.
‘Increased planting along the southern boundary inside the fire protection easement would provide feed trees for birds and bats, grassland for wallabies, and a buffer zone to maintain privacy for residents of Salt’s Cathedral Place.’
Mr Cooper, a former Tweed Shire councillor, said Save Our Lot 490 was now calling on Council to rezone the land from Tourism to E2 to protect it from any commercial development and retain it as public parkland.
‘If the O’Farrell government refused to endorse any such rezoning recommendation from Council, Lot 490 will become a firm state election issue with a minimum 13,000 potential votes at stake by the time of next year’s poll,’ he said.
The concept plan can be viewed on the group’s website or at the Our490.com market stalls at Kingscliff and Pottsville markets.