Tweed welcomes ‘regional city’ status but Lismore not sure

NSW environment minister Rob Stokes.

NSW planning minister Rob Stokes has picked Tweed Heads over Lismore as the ‘regional city’ of the north coast.

Tweed Heads is set to be recognised as a regional city for the first time, under a proposal announced last week by NSW planning minister Rob Stokes.

And Tweed mayor Katie Milne has welcomed the move while calling on local residents to have their say on the plan.

But Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell is unimpressed with her city being left out.

Mr Stokes was visiting the Tweed on Wednesday to launch the draft North Coast Regional Plan, which is on exhibition until 2 June 2016.

If adopted, the plan will guide strategic planning across the north coast over the next 20 years.

‘I am pleased to announce the draft plan will recognise Tweed Heads as a regional city, recognising its place on the north coast and in the state,’ Mr Stokes said.

‘This draft plan sets out a vision for the north coast over the next two decades to help vibrant and sustainable communities flourish now and into the future.’

Tweed mayor Katie Milne has been removed from her mayoral role overseeing councillor expense claims after she tried to 'enhance accountability'.

Tweed mayor Katie Milne.

Cr Milne, said Tweed had ‘evolved as the regional centre in the northern rivers’ and as such, ‘requires the necessary infrastructure, services and the corresponding employment opportunities.’

‘The plan rightly recognises this,’ Cr Milne said.

‘I welcome the direction of the regional plan to contain growth to this key strategic area. This sits well with the first goal of good planning to have sustainable, productive and vibrant centres, and to protect the natural environment, agriculture and heritage values.

‘Concentrating future population in our regional town centre of Tweed Heads will help to preserve what we love about our shire, being our amazing flora and fauna, our stunning landscapes and the relaxed lifestyle of our coastal and rural villages.

‘I encourage everyone to take a look at the plan and think about how we can ensure this great place has the most sustainable planning possible.

‘Our council will be studying the details of the plan and will also make a submission,’ Cr Milne said.

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell

Lismore excluded

But not all local mayors were as impressed with the plan, with Lismore’s Jenny Dowell taking exception to that city’s exclusion from it.

‘There are a couple of gaps there that I would like to see developed, particularly in the housing area,’ she told ABC.

‘Clearly [Lismore’s] got a lot of housing lots that are coming on board in the next 20 years, which is the scope of this document.

‘I’m sure our council will be putting in a submission; NOROC as a whole will be putting in a submission and I urge our community to do so as well,’ Cr Dowell said.

The draft plan also recognises Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie as regional cities but Lismore was specifically excluded, along with other north coast towns such as Grafton.

The draft plan states that the NSW Government’s vision was that the regional cities continue to be the focus for jobs growth, ‘supported by liveable, high-quality residential development and a range of higher-order cultural and civic services.

‘Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie will continue to serve not only local communities, but also the residents of the broader region.’

The draft plan can be viewed here.

Submissions close on 2 June 2016.

2 responses to “Tweed welcomes ‘regional city’ status but Lismore not sure”

  1. Len Heggarty says:

    Rob Stokes, the NSW Planning minister, we are just stoked to see you come in on the development scene a bit late.
    Things a slow down in Sydney, hey? We in Tweed here have been an extension of the Gold Coast in Queensland since about 2003 when the name of Coolangatta Airport was changed to Gold Coast Airport.
    The Maroons to win the State of Origin, Rob.

  2. Muriel Kinson says:

    Anyone notice that the selected cities are located on the coast? Could this be another indication of the tunnel vision that believes life ends when the view of the ocean ceases? Other places are equally significant and those communities (often categorised as ‘hinterland’ in a non-complimentary tone) must not be marginalised.

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