Residents have raised key concerns over the Kingscliff temporary accommodation pod site at Elrond Drive (next to Storage King) and asked why a community engagement process was not one of the first, rather than last, actions of Resilience NSW in engaging with the community.
The 35-day project that started in June, that is still underway over four months later, has now informed residents by a letter last Tuesday that ‘Works will now occur seven days per week, from 7am to 10pm’ and that a drop in session will be will be held at the Kingscliff Uniting Church Hall, 24 Kingscliff Street laneway on Tuesday, 18 October, 2pm – 6pm.
‘A number of residents in the Beach Street/Elrond Drive area have expressed concerns around the process associated with this project,’ said Peter Newton, President of the
Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association (KRPA) in a letter to Dominic Lane Deputy State Recovery Controller in July.
‘While we appreciate the need for urgency in providing suitable accommodation for flood affected residents, of particular concern was the lack of community consultation, transparency and the very limited notice that this project was about to commence.
This point was reiterated by local resident Angela Watson who told The Echo that, ‘The ongoing delays reiterates the point that residents raised that there were more suitable sites for this temporary flood housing to be located particularly if the next flood is bigger than the last, this site will certainly be cut off and potentially impacted by flood water.’
Parking on site?
Questions around parking and traffic management in and out of the site have also been raised by residents with residents saying that the supplied site mapping is unclear in relation to parking availability which raises concerns in relation to how residential streets will be impacted.
Responding to questions from The Echo a spokesperson for Resilience NSW clarified that there will be parking onsite.
‘The NSW Government is working closely with all seven Northern Rivers councils to identify and establish the temporary housing sites that will provide safe and secure housing for flood-affected residents at minimal disruption to local communities,’ said the spokesperson.
‘This includes management of traffic flows in and out of sites. The Kingscliff temporary housing site includes parking for residents.’
A Tweed Council spokesperson told The Echo that, ‘Council had no involvement in the parking at the Elrond Drive site but officers did provide advice on the entry/exit arrangements.’
Public reserve site
The current Resilience NSW lease is for three years to house up to 96 people in 31 self-contained housing units for approximately two years. However, the local community have questioned the potential appropriation of the site for future housing.
Residents have highlighted that the area that has been leased by Resilience NSW is a public reserve that is historically well used by the community.
‘This particular piece of land in Elrond Drive was designated as a permanent passive green space with the expectation that as the community grew, this space would become an active greenspace and was allocated as such when the original Beach Street precinct was developed. This valuable green space for the localised community was actively used as such,’ said Mr Newton.
Concerns that the area will be at risk of becoming a permanent housing site were laid to rest by Tweed Shire Council’s General Manager Troy Green who told The Echo that the site is ‘Executed under Local Government Regs 2021 s115, residents can be assured the site will be restored to its original state upon its return to open space at the conclusion of the lease.’
Mr Newton suggested that ‘Perhaps consideration could be given to including more park like facilities in the make-good works at the end of the lease. Temporary accomodation for flood affected members of the community is welcome and we also encourage people to go along to a briefing’.
If you are unable to attend the drop-in session you can email the project team at any time throughout the project at: [email protected] or call 1300 003 227. The latest information is available at www.nsw.gov.au/floods/recovery/temporaryhousing.