Plans to rezone a prominent rural site next to the Pacific Highway west of the fast-growing Pottsville for future industrial development moved a step further this week after Tweed Shire Council gave the final green light for the longstanding proposal.
The 22-hectare block of land adjoins the Mooball-Pottsville Road interchange with the highway at Cudgera Creek just west of Pottsville is owned by the same company which is proposing to develop a 170-hectare rural property next door known as Dunloe Park into the next new Tweed Coast township for around 6,000 people.
The Pottsville Development Corporation, a consortium of developers who have bought up Tweed Coast land over the years, also had another win at council’s meeting last Thursday when councillors approved a request for staff planners to help the company draw up a master plan for the Dunloe Park urban expansion, at no cost to ratepayers.
The two major projects, both facilitated and determined under the state government’s ‘gateway’ policy and longtime flagged as potential land-release areas for future regional growth, continue the southward coastal housing ‘ribbon’ east of the highway and onward to Byron shire.
The planning proposal, known as the ‘Pottsville Employment Lands’ project, was publicly exhibited earlier this year, and Tweed’s latest approval gives final consent to the rezoning of the Kudgeree Avenue site to industrial land under the planning department guidelines.
No submissions were received from adjoining landowners, while the Pottsville Community Association supported the proposal.
However, dedication of around 10 hectares or 43 per cent of the land to council (which owns land to the east used for a quarry and water supply) for an environmental conservation zone could be delayed till the state finalises its new environmental zoning review.
But staff planners say that hurdle could be overcome and should not hold back the plan. Mayor Gary Bagnall and Crs Barry Longland, Warren Polglase and Carolyn Byrne agreed, while Cr Katie Milne voted against (Crs Michael Armstrong and Phil Youngblutt absent.)
The staff say recommended conservation zone for that portion (which is surplus to the proposed industrial land) address concerns raised during the submission period about koalas roaming the site, which will replanted and form part of an koala corridor in the area.
The site is visible from the Pacific Highway and to homes to the north-east, including Koala Beach Estate.
It was identified, staff said, in the Far North Coast Regional Strategy 2006-2031 as Employment Lands with high-level constraints, and as part of a much larger area known as ‘West Pottsville Area 7’ in council’s Tweed Urban and Employment Land Release Strategy 2009.
In previous council reports on the suitability of the land for rezoning, planners said the site was affected by a number of constraints including steep and highly visible slopes, native vegetation protected under council’s tree Preservation Order, natural watercourses, an Aboriginal cultural heritage item (a Scar tree), issues around proximity to and access to the highway, and its limited access to council’s reticulated sewerage system.,
The scar tree, which was repeatedly burnt and vandalised in the past when the site was owned by others, will be the centrepiece of the land on the southern boundary to be protected.
Council planners say most of the constraints can be addressed at the development application stage, including connecting to the waste water system, which would be at the developer’s cost.
They also said the industrial zoning for the site was ‘consistent with the potential future development of this
and adjoining land’.
(For previous related story on Dunloe Park, see http://www.echo.net.au/2015/05/new-tweed-coast-township-on-the-horizon/)