A controversial proposal to expand the Tweed village of Mooball at least five-fold has been given the green light after three years of negotiations and despite concerted community opposition.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s decision to amend the Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 rezones around 50 hectares of land south of the existing village.
The department’s executive director of regions, Steve Murray, said the expansion of Mooball supports the Far North Coast Regional Strategy, even though the most recent strategy introduced last year has yet to be approved.
The rezoning will allow for approximately 250 new homes to be built in the existing village, which could potentially grow from 170 to 750 residents.
The plan was first mooted in 2014 and was sent by the then council to the state government for a ‘gateway determination’ in April.
Just three weeks later it passed the government’s gateway process with conditions.
‘The rezoning will help the region meet its growing demand for housing through a diversity of lot sizes to suit different budgets for the growing population,’ Mr Murray said.
‘This decision is also expected to deliver an expanded range of services and goods within the village’s commercial precinct as demand increases.’
Flooding and sewage concerns
For three years the plan has met with stiff opposition from locals, including concerns about potential flooding and lack of sewerage treatment facilities.
Tweed Shire Council received 36 submissions objecting to their proposal to amend the LEP.
Some of the main issues raised in submissions included flooding, impact on the village’s character, sewerage disposal, land slip, land use conflict, insufficient information to assess the proposal’s impacts and a lack of adequate services and employment in Mooball to serve the development.
Department staff met with community members on September 19 last year to discuss their concerns.
Council employed an external consultant to assess the public submissions received and prepare recommendations in response.
‘The department took all concerns from the community into consideration before arriving at its final decision,’ Mr Murray said.
‘The proposal has been supported by a voluntary planning agreement which will ensure further studies on bushfire, flooding, Aboriginal cultural heritage and land stability inform the design of any future development of the site.
‘There is also a requirement for design guidelines to be developed to help shape the future character of the village,’ he said.
The Planning Proposal and other accompanying documents are available online at www.leptracking.planning.nsw.gov.au.
Echonetdaily approached the Tweed Shire Council and mayor Katie Milne for comment but none was received by deadline.