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Byron Shire
June 4, 2023

Tweed Shire Council to seek legal advice on legacy DAs

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Development site at 60 Tringa Street,
Tweed Heads.

The clearing of the site on the banks of Cobaki Creek, by MAAS Group Holdings from Dubbo, to progress a 27-year old development approval has triggered Tweed Shire Councillors into action to seek legal advice on what, if anything, can be done to bring these legacy/zombie developments into line with current standards. 

Mayor Chris Cherry was clear to point out that the alternative  notice of motion (NoM) that she put forward was not about ‘revoking development consents’.

‘I am proposing that we can look at how best to ensure that these developments are not having big environmental impacts either on our community, or on our natural environment.

‘It is really important to understand that these developments are items that have been approved a long time ago and have come in under quite different regulations. If they haven’t been built yet there may be an opportunity to get better environmental outcomes. To have these developments to come more into line with the known risks and impacts that we have found out about in the last thirty years of development assessment.

NSW Labor Premier Chris Minns, visited Kingslicff in the lead-up to the election to discuss legacy DAs with President of the Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association Inc (KRPA) Peter Newton, NSW Shadow Minister for the North Coast John Graham, President of the Tumbulgum Community Association Jenny Kidd and KRPA Vice President Angela Watson. Photo supplied

State action needed now

Councillor Dr Nola Firth, who seconded the NoM, called for the recently elected Labor state government to take action as soon as possible on these legacy development applications (DAs) so that an effective approach can be taken to resolve how they should move forward. 

‘This really is a state issue,’ Cr Firth told the meeting. 

‘The incumbent government have said they will look at it. I want the to do it really urgently. There are things that can be done, there have been suggestions such as a moratorium until something better is worked out. [For example] that there be a trigger instituted so that when there’s an actual disaster like flood, which we’ve had, that this triggers a reassessment. If there is a change to the environmental requirements, which there certainly has been since this one [was approved] 27 years ago – that’s the Cobaki one – that there is a trigger for some way of taking this into account. And another possibility put forward is that there needs to be a substantial amount of work needs to have already commenced on the site; and if it hasn’t that has to be reconsidered.’

Residents are distressed by the clearing for the development on Triga street, on the tidal estuary of Cobaki Creek

Cobaki Creek 

Point two of the NoM referred specifically to the MAAS DA at 60 Tringa Street, on Cobaki Creek at Tweed Heads requiring that ‘a further report be brought back to Council on how a more efficient notification process and policy for the commencement of legacy developments could be advanced and implemented’.

‘This is about getting advice with reference to the Lindsay Taylor lawyer article. In terms of what avenues council has to require compliance with the existing development conditions,’ explained Cr Cherry. 

‘Because that is sometimes not possible because the conditions require to entities, or departments don’t actually exist anymore, so how does that work? Also what opportunity does council have, if any, to put any conditions that are going to be able to more in line with today’s standards? 

‘I’m hoping that when the legal advice comes back on Tringa Street, that may point us in the direction of how we can get a better notification process so councillors, and thereby the community, get to know more in advance about what is coming up, what is about to be constructed and what avenues there are to consider those issues.’

Councillor Warren Polglase also spoke to the NoM saying that the council needed to be very careful and highlighted that there are a number of building companies that have collapsed.

Cr Polglase finally said that ‘I’ll support this with some reluctance’.

Cr Cherry responded saying, ‘I certainly take your point on about being careful. And hopefully, that is what the advice is about. And obviously, flooding impacts are one of the biggest concerns that people in our community have.’

The NoM was passed with support from all the councillors.

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  1. Tweed Shire Council has approved 35,000 hosing lots which have not come to fruition. No clauses forcing developers to start and finish within a specific timeframe. We only need to look to Kng’s Forest owned by Bob Els, just started but nothing is happening. Like many land owners have been and continue to just landbank, leaving our population without housing.


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