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Byron Shire
August 3, 2021

Kingscliff three-storey height limit set to stay

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Ron Cooper has won his long-fought battle to retain three-storey height limits for Kingscliff.
Ron Cooper has won his long-fought battle to retain three-storey height limits for Kingscliff.

Chris Dobney

Tweed Shire Cr Ron Cooper is celebrating a win after council voted on Thursday to retain a three-storey height limit in the Kingscliff Locality Plan, now on exhibition.

Councillors Byrnes, Cherry and mayor Milne voted with him to pass his revised plan, with councillors Allsop, Owen and Polglase voting against.

34-year battle

The plan is the end of a long battle for Cr Cooper, which began in 1983 when a plan was submitted for three eight-storey buildings in the seaside village.

Cr Cooper told Echonetdaily he thought the matter had been put to bed in 2008 when the height-limit was written in to the then Local Environment Plan (LEP).

He said the first challenge to the number of storeys allowed along Marine Parade came with the 2014 LEP, when the state government allowed higher per-floor measurements.

‘The state government changed the measurement for three storeys to 13.6 metres, instead of the accurate 12.2, and that allowed them to squeeze in another floor,’ he said.

‘And that meant wherever we thought three storeys were going to be, they could now put four.

‘And then the council did the Locality Plan, which is a means of varying the LEP, and that plan showed five and six-storey buildings as well.

‘Although you couldn’t call it high-rise, most people see it as the thin edge of the wedge,’ he said.

Community consultation flawed

After the initial plan was presented, showing substantial height increases last year, Cr Cooper began his own survey and a subsequent petition.

The then Mr Cooper told Echonetdaily at the time that of 1,250 residents and visitors surveyed, 97 per cent opposed buildings over three storeys.

Cr Cooper said he was ‘kicked off’ a council community committee after mounting the survey.

He then launched a petition that received some 14,000 signatures of support from locals and people residing in the surrounding areas.

‘When [the plan] finally went out on exhibition, it showed the six-storey building, even though the only mention of the height of the buildings in their own consultation was to retain the three-storey limit,’ he said.

At that point, Cr Cooper said, he decided to run for council, principally on the issue of the building heights.

‘The only one other thing I consider significant in my campaign is the way council consults – because that’s what led to this position.

‘We’ve got to engage more people in our consultation process.

‘Their idea of putting it out to the community and then picking them off one-by-one in a shopfront means that the average person, going into the shopfront saying they don’t want more than three storeys, ends up running into a planner who came up with the idea of going taller.

‘So they’re very much at a disadvantage,’ he said.

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  1. Well done Ron Cooper and those councillors who voted to retain the three storey limit in Kingscliff. It was the village atmosphere that attracted us to the area in the late nineties and although that atmosphere has changed in many ways, a relaxation of the height limit would have been the nail in the coffin for this coastal village.

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. A marvellous job by Ron. For once, the people have been listened to. And for once, vested interests failed.

    But we must always keep on our guard, as the developers won’t give up. Sad but true.

  3. Congratulations to you Ron and to your fellow councillors who supported you. It takes an enormous effort and courage to do what you have done for so long and I acknowledge both. None of this comes without personal cost.

    Now it’s time for others to step up and keep watch for the ‘trickle down’ contemporary ‘white shoe brigade’, aided and abetted by a State government hooked on growth at any cost, will be waiting in the wings to fill any void left by inaction. It was ever thus. Don’t you worry about that!

  4. My wife and I have been crossing the border for a long time to head down to Kingsciffe and up until recently were thinking of moving down there. Unfortunately greed has ruined the village where “investment” buyers are more interested making a few bucks than keeping at it was. And now every visit we make another three story monstrosities is going up.
    Thankfully the cafe area has as yet been left alone.
    Dallas Fraser

  5. I lived in Kingy for 12 months and loved the place. I recall going to Coolongatta and looking up the coast to the silhouette of the Gold Coast and I thank God for Ron Cooper. I ran into him in Marine Parade and signed his petition and will take some small satisfaction from the tiny weight that my signature added. Long live Ron Cooper and long live the Kingy.

  6. Crooked developers and their councillor pawns and planning officers have had their way in this region for far too long. The people of this region want honest council officials and a clean out of the stench emanating from local council. The people are sick and tired of it. Thank goodness that good men like Ron Cooper are prepared to stand tall on issues like this and put everything on the line. We are sick of the phoney consultations of council. We are sick of the Council Planners putting the developers desires before the community. An ICAC investigation is way past due.


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