A controversial plan to allow five-storey high-rise buildings at Kingscliff has been slammed by a Tweed community group which says it goes against a 30-year battle by residents to preserve the town’s three-storey limit.
Tweed Shire Council managers say the Kingscliff Locality Plan, which is now on exhibition, is ‘the most important strategic plan to guide the seaside town’s future development’.
The plan looks at reviewing building heights and encouraging shop-top housing in the town centre as well as pedestrian and cycling connections to surrounding residential areas, and establishing a ‘business and knowledge’ precinct.
But locals are not amused and have vowed to fight the plan, saying its exhibition is ‘deceptive and unconvincing’.
Ron Cooper, convenor of the Our 490 group, says ‘tinkering with building heights weakens the council determination that has survived for 30 years’ and would ’encourage rogue developers to challenge the height controls.
‘You just have to stand on Kingscliff Beach and look north to see where this is all heading: metre by metre we’re going up. It’s already happening at Casuarina Beach’.
‘Tweed Council will be flying in the face of a 30-year community battle to preserve Kingscliff’s three-storey height limit if it’s plan to allow four and five storey buildings is adopted’, Mr Cooper said.
‘As recently as last year, a survey of 1,250 residents and visitors found 97 per cent opposed buildings over three storeys.
‘Only a week ago Kingscliff came in fourth in the top-ten list of most desirable sea-change towns. Now already council wants to change the place.
‘Council makes no reference to the historic community battle nor the recent survey in the exhibition documents supporting the proposed changes.
‘This exhibition is deceptive and unconvincing. No satisfactory answers are provided for the growing traffic and parking problems.
‘The illustrations hide the potential adverse visual impacts. The document has very little strength in law and can be challenged by developers at every turn.
‘The touted benefits for residents are not guaranteed. They are subject to council granting favours in return.
‘Five storeys may not be the end of it. The document offers no protection for the lifestyle of existing residents.
‘The very reasons for our fourth place rating as a sea-change town are being trashed.’
Mr Cooper said there was no need for council to increase Kingscliff’s density to satisfy housing demand.
‘Three of the largest residential areas on the east coast of Australia – Cobaki Lakes, Area E at Terranora and Kings Forest are coming on stream,’ he sdaid.
‘There are also other large areas zoned for residential development at West Kingscliff and Black Rocks at Pottsville.
‘The our 490 group will take the fight up to council to ensure that Kingscliff’s character and the three-storey height remains and that Kingscliff retains its pre-eminent position as a place to live and visit.’
Council’s project manager for foreshore revitalisation, Stewart Brawley said the locality plan was about ‘finding the right balance between growth and coastal character.
The plan is being exhibited at council’s Marine Parade shopfront for the next fortnight.
‘Three key documents are on exhibition, with the Context, Issues and Opportunities Report, the Enquiry by Design Workshop Report and Precinct Plans set to form the basis for the finalised Kingscliff Locality Plan,’ Mr Brawley said.
‘The shopfront will continue to display information about the Kingscliff Foreshore Revitalisation and council staff will be on hand to answer any inquiries about the seawall, holiday park upgrade and new Kingscliff Central Park’, he said.
‘However, the Kingscliff Locality Plan will be a key focus at the shopfront for the next fortnight, to work with the community to explore the future direction of the whole Kingscliff area.’
Mr Brawley said public engagement for the plan will include daily information sessions to explain initiatives in the reports and to further involve community members in discussions about key points.
Council’s senior urban designer Jonathan Lynch said ‘we were keen to have a prominent physical presence in Kingscliff during the next stage of consultation for the locality plan, to really take the discussion to the community’.
‘The Kingscliff Matters shopfront is the perfect opportunity for that presence and really gives added context to the locality plan, by tying it in with some of the most significant projects for the town,’ Mr Lynch said.
‘The challenge with the locality plan will be finding the right balance between planning for future growth to meet the needs of an ever growing community whilst retaining and strengthening Kingscliff’s coastal character.’
The shopfront at 2/98 Marine Parade also includes information about the Kingscliff Coastal Zone Management Plan, which will be become the main focus from 21 March to 1 April.
For more details about the locality llan, including times for the shopfront information sessions, visit yoursaytweed.com.au/kingsclifflocalityplan.
More information is also available from Mr Lynch on 02 6670 2400 or email [email protected]
The Plan has only been slammed by one community group. How quaint?