Extensive community consultation has concluded that residents in the Tweed Shire want and support a three storey height limit across the shire with the exception of Tweed Heads according to Tweed Shire Mayor Katie Milne. Yet Labor councillor Reece Byrnes sided with Liberal and National councillors for the developer LEDA Manorstead Pty Ltd to extend the Cobaki Lake development modification eight to 10 storeys.
‘Council’s decision to trash the community’s long established three storey height limit to support 10 storeys in our (Tweed Council) submission to the state government for the Cobaki modification 8 is shocking,’ said Mayor Milne.
‘I didn’t expect anything less from the Liberal/National councillors but what is going on with Labor’s support for this developer?
‘First they (Labor) back the hospital at Kings Forest contrary to the well established future planning for the hospital expansion to be at Tweed Heads, and now they side with the Liberal/Nationals to back 10 storeys at Cobaki.
‘Both Labor and the Liberals accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from this developer in donations over the years.’
During yesterday’s Tweed Council meeting Mayor Milne and Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry put forward a motion of support for the staff report to the state government’s planning minister, who is the consent authority, on the Cobiki modification 8 ‘excluding the parts that support a 8 and10 storey height limit.’ Extensive reasoning was provided regarding why they rejected the increased height limit including that it is in breach of the 2014 shoreside LEP (Local Environmental Plan), it is ‘a more than 300 per cent increase in storeys for this development [that] would change the community’s vision of the Shire forever’. They also raised concerns around climate change mitigation including saltwater inundation and the impact on migratory and non-migratory bird.
The motion was lost with councillors Cr R Byrnes, Cr J Owen, Cr W Polglase, Cr P Allsop voting against and Cr C Cherry, Cr R Cooper, Cr K Milne in favour.
A subsequent motion was passed supporting the report with an amendment that ‘All buildings exceeding the current three storey height limit should be dedicated to social and affordable housing due to the significant housing stress in the Shire’ and that ‘A comprehensive Shire wide consultation and strategic planning reform process should be undertaken to provide evidence of community support and justification for increased height limits for this development, if this proposal is not refused in the first instance’.
Reece Byrnes defends his vote
Councillor Byrnes told Echonetdaily that the reason he chose to vote in favour of the increases of the height limit to 10 storeys was due to housing pressure.
‘In the future we need some place where we can fit what’s going to be an increase in our population,’ said Councillor Byrnes.
‘This development is in a small portion to the north of the shire near the airport and won’t be seen by 99 per cent of the shire. I fully support the three storey height limit on our coast and villages.’
How to object
‘If it can happen at Cobaki it can happen at Kings Forest, and it can happen anywhere with Councillors on this path now,’ said Mayor Milne.
‘If the community wants to object to opening the floodgates for high rise popping up at random areas all over the Shire like this at Cobaki without any serious consultation, a late submission can be lodged to Cobaki modification 8, and copy your objection to the NSW Planning Minister and the Premier.’