Tweed Shire Council should ensure a site for a new high school for the fast-growing Pottsville area is kept aside in the final stages of the Seabreeze estate development, says a Tweed Shire councillor.
Cr Katie Milne said it was vital to get the planning right for the final stages of the development west of Pottsville, which involves an 88-lot subdvision, a child care centre and public reserve.
One of the two lots in the reserve site is earmarked by developer Metricon for a possible future school site.
Community groups along the Tweed Coast, especially around Pottsville, have for years been calling for the building of a new public high school to cater for a booming population growth with many young families having moved into the area.
The only other public high school in the area – at Kingscliff – is at capacity but the state education department last year said there was no need for another high school on the tweed Coast just yet.
Metricon has previously developed other sites at Seabreeze that had been set aside for a school for more housing, and plans to develop the final stage of the estate into a 65-lot subdivision if the school doesn’t go ahead.
But council planners say if that’s the case, a separate development application would have to be lodged.
Cr Milne told fellow councillors last night that consideration of Metricon’s plan for the final stages 15-18 should be deferred to a workshop to give councillors a chance to listen to the Pottsville community’s concerns over filling and flooding issues and other possible impacts of the development.
‘We should also ensure we’re not limiting the site for a school as it’s the only chance the community gets,’ she said after moving for deferral.
Cr Milne said there were also other issues such as Aboriginal heritage and preserving any old or prominent trees that had to be looked at
‘It’s a very big development and we should make sure we get it right from the start,’ the Greens councillor said.
But pro-development faction veteran Cr Warren Polglase questioned what would be achieved from deferring the issue, saying council planners would return a similar recommendation next time.
(Staff recommended approval for the 88-lot subdvision for stages 15-18, with more than 120 conditions).
Cr Polglase said council seemed to be ‘setting up a no-go zone’ for business in Tweed shire with such ‘delays’ which was ‘ridiculous’.
But deputy mayor Michael Armstrong said council was not stopping or delaying the proposal but wanting to listen to the community over its concerns and ‘not just hearing one side of the story’ from the developer.
Cr Armstrong said the Pottsville Community Association on Wednesday had emailed councillors over several issues it had with the development ‘so we need to properly explore that’.
‘Both Metricon and the Pottsville Community Association have worked well together in the past and there’s no reason why they can’t do so again to overcome any issue,’ he said.
Cr Phil Youngblutt said opposing councillors showed a lack of faith in council planners by not accepting their recommendation.
Councillors voted 4-3 (Crs Polglase, Byrne and Youngblutt against) to defer a decision till after a workshop is held.