Tweed shire councillors are set to reject a plan for a 60-lot residential subdivision at Tweed Heads on land under the busy Gold Coast Airport flight path, which proposes removal of a swathe of koala food trees.
Airport operators and adjoining land owners strongly oppose the development, due to impacts on future residents of aircraft noise, loss of koala habitat and stormwater runoff into nearby Cobaki Creek.
Tweed Shire Council planners were critical of the $2.6 million plan for the land at No. 26 Tringa Street, by development firm Urban Base, saying it was ‘considerably deficient’ in information for the major works required.
They also said allowing the plan would amount to a ‘poor’ planning decision due to the social, environmental and economic impacts of the development being so close to major infrastructure such as the adjacent airport, industrial land and the Tweed Wastewater Treatment Plant.
‘To facilitate the development, all Potential Koala Habitat and isolated mature remnant preferred Koala Food Trees need to be removed,’ chief planner Vince Connell wrote in his report.
‘The proposal fails to demonstrate how koala habitat recovery is to be achieved in accordance with the adopted Tweed Coast Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management 2015 (TCCKPoM), including omission of a habitat offset proposal in accordance with the relevant provisions of the plan.’
Mr Connell said the developer had relied on legal advice that the koala plan could not be lawfully be used to require offsetting for food trees removed.
Other issues included the ‘unacceptable’ discharge of untreated stormwater runoff into Cobaki Creek, a state-sanctioned environmentally sensitive area.
He also said the application lacked owner’s consent for proposed works on council land had failed to provide a master plan (or waiver) as required under state planning rules.
Mr Connell said the plan if approved would set an ‘unwarranted precedent’
for future subdivision and increased population densities’ near Gold Coast Airport which would undermine the Tweed Local Environmental Plan.
‘The proposal is not in the public interest given its failure to demonstrate suitable compliance with council’s plans and policies which would result in an undesirable residential subdivision’.
Council meets this Thursday (December 15) at 5pm at the Tweed Heads Administration Centre in Brett Street.