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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Tweed Council reverses 10-storey height limit for Cobaki

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The proposed Cobaki development site. Photo Leda Manorstead

Tweed Shire Councillors have rescinded a motion passed in December that would have allowed for developments up to 10 storeys at Leda’s Cobaki Lakes development near Gold Coast Airport.

Council has only an advisory role regarding the development, which is controlled by the state government, but the December motion envisaged height limits unseen anywhere in the Shire outside of Tweed Heads.

At Thursday’s council meeting Cr Ron Cooper (independent), who had previously voted in support of high rise at Cobaki, seconded the rescission motion moved by mayor Katie Milne (Greens).

Councillors Cherry (independent) and Byrnes (ALP) supported the motion, with pro-development councillors Polglase, Owen and Allsop voting against.

Council will now undertake a period of community consultation, with a report expected back in six months, moving the issue to the other side of next month’s state election.

The debate about the height limit came about after a request from the developer, Leda.

Cr Cooper told Echonetdaily that he changed his vote because, ‘retrospectively, I considered the fact that this whole Tweed community had been through a consultation and state government inquiry to establish that the only place there would be high rise would be in Tweed Heads’.

‘So it wasn’t for me to make a decision to change that,’ he said.

He added while the council decision wasn’t binding on the government, ‘given the consultation that will follow, the [incoming] state government might be influenced.’

‘If the community says they would like [high rise] there, well we could go with that.’

Cr Byrnes was not available when contacted by Echonetdaily to explain why he also changed his mind.

But Tweed Greens candidate Bill Fenelon said he believes that it was a result of  ‘pressure from the Greens against Labor’s stance for a high-rise hospital at Kings Forest and [an] increase in height limits at Cobaki’.

Low key, low scale

Following last year’s vote, Mayor Milne said, ‘The community’s vision is to be more low key and low scale than the Gold Coast, and they have strongly and consistently opposed Gold Coast style over development which is largely expressed through high rise development such as this proposal.

‘To arbitrarily inflict a more than 300 per cent increase in storeys for this development would change the community’s vision of the Shire forever.

‘That this could even be contemplated in such a superficial manner and with such minimal consultation highlights the brokenness of the NSW Government planning system and would be an utter betrayal of the whole Tweed community.

‘It would be a shocking legacy for the Coalition Government to blow up Tweed’s local planning controls, particularly so close to an election,’ she said.

High-rise hospital

Cr Cooper was also critical of the hospital precinct plans for Kingscliff, saying they were a major threat to height limits in that area.

‘The location of the nine-storey hospital – if it goes ahead – together with all the other allied health services to go on that site will be twice the size of John Flynn,’ he said.

‘Then the government wants to create business activity around the hospital. That means all the other farmlands will go.

‘There are other shortlisted hospital sites, such as Kings Forest and Chinderah that may be more suitable,’ he said.



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  1. At the December Council meeting Labor voted with the Liberal and National Party-aligned Councillors to support 10 storey high rise at Cobaki. In between the December and February meetings the Greens exposed Labor for voting with the conservatives. At the 7 February Council meeting Labor did a backflip and voted against support for increased height limits at Cobaki.

    Labor supports a new hospital being built at Kings Forest, which is currently zoned for residential use. They have not released how many storeys, but if built to a similar design to the proposed Cudgen site, it is likely to be a 9 storey high-rise building. I expect that the Kings Forest developer would lodge an application to modify the original consent to accommodate higher density in order to compensate for the loss of residential development on the site.

    Labor has shown they are weak when it comes to opposition to high-rise. How can we trust Labor not to support a development application for higher density in Kings Forest? If Labor’s proposal goes ahead, it will give a green light to higher density and high-rise south of the river.

  2. This hospital should not be built on developer controlled land. The Leda sumbission includes a private hospital. How much public services will be lost to that?
    The only one to benefit from a hospital at Kings Forest is Leda. The land has been left dormant for many years and our health services will be delayed by a hospital at Kings Forest.
    Ron Cooper ignores legislation that sets requirements for the rezoning it SSF land. The Cudgen site is self-contained with provision for expansion onsite.
    We shouldn’t expect second best when it comes to health care.


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