The debate over the movement of fill via the Tweed Coast Road and through Kingscliff to fill future development sites has been considered by residents, Tweed Shire Councillors, and staff at the last two planning meetings and a workshop in between.
Councillors Warren Polglase (Conservative) and Pryce Allsop (Conservative) have both been pushing hard for the development application DA20/0965 to allow free fill from the M1 roadworks to be trucked in to be used as fill by Gales Holdings. This would be used for filling land on and around Turnock Street and would replace the Land and Environment Court (L&EC) approval for bringing fill from their existing local quarry site. The DA seeks truck and dog movements every two minutes for six and a half days per week for a minimum of 28 weeks to bring in the fill.
The DA (0965) has raised a range of issues including the dual impact approval of this DA would have when combined with the already approved DA20/0860, which allows 44 weeks of truck movement, would have on the Kingscliff community.
At the previous planning meeting, 4 February, it was asserted that one reason Gales Holdings were seeking to use free fill from works on the M1 was so that they can then export and sell the sand from the quarry for profit.
During both planning meetings and the workshop most councillors have been seeking to gain a clear understanding of the impacts the combination of the DAs will have.
‘A common concern voiced by the residents, including Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association Inc (KRPA), in relation to the proposed haulage route for the Turnock Street fill site, was that an approved route was actually in place (as part of the original fill approval) and should be utilised, rather than inflict pain on a greater number of residents (and the road network) as would be the case should the proposed route be approved,’ said Peter Newton, president of KRPA who attended the workshop.
Mr Newton said residents and KRPA had raised concerns over whether the two DAs truck movements would run in conjunction or separately, and the ‘lack of depth in the traffic issues addressed in both the DAs and the Council reports’.
There is a ‘lack of recognition in both DAs and the Council report into the “flow-on” impact to the surrounding road networks as motorists seek to avoid Tweed Coast Road [during haulage periods], particularly in the morning and afternoon peaks.
‘The workshop heard that Tweed Coast Road has averaged 16,500 vehicle movements a day over the past three years. This is closing in on the capacity (18,500 per day) for this type of regional road,’ he said.
‘Importantly, the average daily flow increased to 18,500 per day as motorists avoided Kingscliff when the Cudgen Creek bridge works were being undertaken in 2016. So, if the reverse is true, there is the potential for an additional 2,000 movements through Kingscliff and surrounding road networks as Tweed Coast Road is avoided. A world of pain awaits the community in this regard, if this matter does not receive due attention by both Council and the proponent in the DA consideration.’
Mr Newton told The Echo that a key turning point in the workshop was when Gales Holdings ultimately advised ‘that they would give consideration to dropping the (Turnock Street fill) haulage proposal and look seriously at pumping fill (from their sand quarry) over Tweed Coast Road and all the way to the Turnock Street fill site’.
‘The important thing for me is that this DA for importing fill and the existing quarry approval on the same land are inextricably linked and need to be considered in context together,’ Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) told The Echo.
‘That is why I feel that it would be better addressed as a modification of the quarry approval. Then flooding impacts, traffic and noise can all be assessed together. This fill is also going to be used for quarry operations so how can it be assessed any other way?’
However, Mayor Cherry’s motion to ask Gales Holdings to withdraw the DA ‘and be advised that the requests contained within the DA would be more appropriately dealt with under a modification to Quarry approval DA08/1266 due to the interconnected nature of the proposed works with the quarry operations’ was lost at the 4 March planning meeting.
The alternative motion put by Deputy Mayor Reece Byrnes (Labor) and Cr James Owen (Liberal) sought to defer the decision to the next planning meeting on 1 April. This was primarily due to the fact that further detailed advice received from the Director of Planning and Regulation had only just been received by the councillors 20 minutes prior to the commencement of the meeting. The motion also requested that ‘the proponent provide a real-time study for peak hour traffic at the Tweed Coast Road/Crescent Street intersection’.
This motion was carried with only Councillor Pryce Allsop voting against.
‘The deferral from Thursday’s planning meeting is simply a continuation of the workshop outcomes, where Council will not rush a decision on both DAs,’ Mr Newton told The Echo.
‘Further information regarding the sand pumping options is being sought from the proponent along with traffic studies in relation to Tweed Coast Road. KRPA supports the outcomes so far on this significant community matter and is more than willing to continue to engage with all parties to facilitate a positive outcome.’