Funds allocated, yet Bruns locals against master plan

The steely determination of the Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce’s Tweed Street Taskforce (TST) is a force the community has to reckon with.

However, opposition to the Tweed Street Masterplan (TSM) was sufficiently disturbing for them to call a ‘Refresher’ meeting of representative groups in Nov 2015.

Sheets of points criticising the project were duly recorded. Many of those criticisms were long-standing, dating back to 2008 which had been ignored in getting council approval for the Tweed Street Masterplan (TSM) in 2010.

In December 2015, the Brunswick Heads Progress Association (BHPA) surveyed members about capital works needed in the village.

That survey identified ‘high’, ‘medium’ and ‘low’ priority projects. The TSM was ‘low’ priority. High priority was given to such projects as public toilets, road and footpath repairs and reconstruction.

BHPA, at its 1 February meeting, invited the public to attend as the focus was the TWM. At that meeting members and visitors alike were of the position that no further monies should be appropriated to the TWM pending a master capital works program.

Without doubt the TST would have been aware of this resolution. A meeting was subsequently called between it, Byron Shire Council staff and some councillors.

This was held on 23 February. On 25 February, at council’s quarterly budget review $120,000 was allocated to the TSM.

The purpose of these monies would be to ‘take the concept plan to design plans suitable for construction’. The money would bring the Central Precinct of the project to ‘shovel ready’.

In the circumstances it was a ‘coup’ for the TST.

Council papers make it clear that design plans would have a life expectancy of 12 months.

The total project is estimated at $3,667,000 excluding GST. Brunswick Heads has $435,959.95 in developer contributions (s94). So, unless there is a pot of money from general revenue to make up the shortfall, or grant money from the State to progress the TSM, then it questions why any money, let alone $120,000 of public monies should be given to the project.

And these financial considerations are separate from the sustained community objection to the project anyway, objections which appear to be continually ignored.

Councillors will be making a decision tomorrow, Thursday, 17 March.

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads

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