A rescission motion for the approval of the construction of a haul route in west Kingscliff by Gales Holdings (DA20/086) that is designed to facilitate bringing in fill from the M1 upgrade was hotly debated at last Thursday’s Tweed Shire Council meeting with confusion over what the DA was and wasn’t approving.
Councillor Ron Cooper (Independent) raised issues for Kingscliff residents in relation to the ‘90,000 truck and trailer movements’ that the bringing in of fill to the development site rather than using sand from the site would have. He told the meeting that approval of the development application (DA) ‘didn’t consider the potential long-term damage to our roads, [impacts on] our amenity, our health, and our tourist industry’.
Councillor Cooper also highlighted the point that ‘When the trucking plan first came before Council, staff advised councillors that the proponent’s company could make more money by importing road waste from the Gold Coast instead of using his company’s sand to fill the Turnock St site’.
The impact that the imported fill will have on the environment, stormwater and drainage compared to the sand fill that was approved in the original DA by the courts was also raised by Councillor Katie Milne (Greens).
‘It is our job to make sure this is the least environmentally impacting,’ Cr Milne told the meeting.
‘This [importing fill] could be setting a precedent for this area.’
This was supported by Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) who told the meeting that ‘I share Cr Milne concerns in regards to drainage issues and permeability of soil that would be placed there. Staff have said hard engineering could be used to deal with this.’
Cr Milne pointed out the significant annual cost to ratepayers of the existing western drainage scheme and Mayor Cherry said that ‘there shouldn’t be an ongoing cost to ratepayers’.
Fill not the issue
However, Councillor Warren Polglase (Conservative) pointed out that the haulage route DA ‘only has relationship to haul road. The court decided [that the fill to be used was sand]. As I understand it, today that still stands. At present all we are debating is the road. This DA does not cover the issue of fill. They would have to seek an amendment [to the DA] to change the fill.’
Councillor Milne pointed out that the DA sought to override the court decision on sand being used as the fill. ‘The applicants intend to amend the previous consent,’ she told the meeting.
Clarification was then sought on the issue from staff regarding whether or not the approval of this DA also approved the change of fill for the site. Ultimately the staff clarified that the DA was only for the haul road.
‘The proposal does not change the original conditions regarding the fill of those development sites and the proponent will have to modify those consent conditions,’ the Director of Planning Vince Connelltold the councillors.
‘This application does not give approval for use of the imported fill at this point.’
‘That has made it very clear that the proponent will have put in another DA to change the fill,’ said Mayor Cherry.
The rescission motion was then lost with Councillors Polglse, James Owen (Liberal), Reece Byrnes (Labor) and Pryce Allsop (Conservative) voting it down.
Developers say ‘no’ to new DA
Developers Gales Holdings believe that the haul road DA also approved the change of fill to the site.
‘We think it is pretty clear in the DA that the haulage road is for bringing in fill from other places by road,’ Gales Holdings Director, Stephen Segal told The Echo.
‘No we don’t think it needs another DA. At most it would need an amendment to the DA.
‘What’s so dysfunctional is that the councillors bring up “gotcha” issues at the meeting that leads to the decision being delayed another month to the next meeting. This leads to more delays. It is opposite to the court process where all the issues are up front. Here we have a DA that has been in for six months and councillors are raising new issues.
‘This is the opposite of affordable housing. The delays jack up the prices,’ he said.
‘It’s very ironic that the reason for the specific fill was because of drainage issues in relation to the wallum froglet that were present at the site but have now become extinct at the site because Council altered the drains.’