Tweed Shire Council says a recently approved rate increase on the yet-to-be-released Cobaki Lakes development is a win for the surrounding environment.
The development, by Leda Manorstead, one of the country’s largest developers, has been mired in controversy, including the company pushing through illegal road works on the site and a defamation action against current Tweed mayor Katie Milne.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Authority (IPART) last week approved a permanent special rate variation of 0.97 per cent for the Cobaki Lakes residential development, beginning in 2016/17.
Council says the special rate variation at Cobaki was created as a levy on residents of the new urban release area to protect bushland within and around the development, which is located on a 605-hectare site west of Tweed Heads.
LEDA Manorstead itself will be required to make the payments from July 1 until such time as individual property owners are in place and can pay the levy.
‘The local environment is of great significance to the people living in Tweed Shire. It is the reason many have moved here over the last 170 years,’ deputy mayor Gary Bagnall, said.
‘This special rate is welcomed by all. It will ensure that the endangered ecological communities, the bushland and the wildlife will be cared for forever. For those that make Cobaki their new home they will have a sense of ownership and pride in the surrounding environmental areas. It is also a great milestone passed for the developers to move forward.
‘The new rates are a winner for animals, plants and people, great outcome,’ he said.
Cobaki Lakes has been identified within the state government’s Far North Coast Regional Strategy and council’s adopted Tweed Urban and Employment Lands Release Strategy 2009 as one of the largest contributors for the provision of new housing and employment within the Tweed Shire over the next 25 years.
It will eventually provide 5500 new dwellings, with a population of between 10,000 and 12,000 people.
The former state Labor government approved the Concept Plan for Cobaki in December 2010 under the controversial Part 3A provisions.
The increase above the rate peg would be paid by future property owners in Cobaki when development occurs in the area.
A special variation allows councils to increase general income – which mainly comprises income from rates – above the rate peg. The rate peg has been set by IPART at 1.8 per cent for 2016/17.
For more information about the Cobaki Lakes development, see www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/CobakiDevelopment