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October 4, 2023

Tweed Council refuses Fingal Head tree removal and will defend decision in court

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The development modification for 20 Lagoon Road, Fingal Head sought permission to remove Littoral Rainforest trees to create a pathway to the nearby beach for ‘bushfire purposes’ was refused. Image Google maps

An amendment to the development consent (DA18/0478.02) for 20 Lagoon Road, Fingal Head to remove an extra eight trees to form a path to Dreamtime Beach for ‘bushfire purposes’ in addition to the existing approval in place was refused by Tweed Shire Councillors last week. 

The trees proposed for removal are within the Littoral Rainforest Conservation Area and adjacent to Coastal Wetlands.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry and Deputy Mayor Meredith Dennis OAM. Photo supplied

‘[When] this development application was given approval to go ahead it did require those trees to be protected and I think we need to adhere to that,’ explained Tweed Shire Mayor, Chris Cherry (Independent), who put the amended motion. 

This position was supported by Deputy Mayor, Meredith Dennis (Independent) who told the meeting, that these ‘conditions [were] set out and we can’t suddenly go back and change [this decision] and decide to remove extra trees.’

Refusal recommended

The staff recommendation for refusal included a range of issues that the developer had not addressed highlighting that ‘the modification application should be refused because insufficient information has been submitted to enable a proper assessment of the impacts that the development as proposed to be modified will have on the biophysical, hydrological or ecological integrity of the adjacent littoral rainforest.’

It went on to highlight that the developer had not provided sufficient information on the impact it would have on the ‘Coastal Environment Area’ or how they intended to ‘avoid adverse impacts’.

‘No details have been provided of alternative strategies which seek to minimise impacts upon the ecological environment, coastal environmental values and natural coastal processes,’ said the staff proposed refusal motion. 

They also highlighted that ‘no details have been provided of any vegetation to be removed to provide the access formation’ of the track or ‘quantified assessment of the cumulative impact of the development’.

Tweed Councillor Dr Nola Firth.

Councillor Dr Nola Firth (Greens) reminded the other councillors that ‘these are really important, environmentally sensitive areas. Some of the trees are prescribed trees. There are areas that are [under] a covenant where trees are not to be removed.’

The motion further stated that ‘the applicant has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the consent authority that the proposed tree removal and disturbance will not negatively impact the adjacent Littoral Rainforest on public land, and as such is not considered to be in the public interest’.

Court action

The modification application had already become a deemed refusal and Mayor Chris Cherry added to the staff drafted refusal that the TSC defend the Class 1 Appeal in the courts and ‘engage any necessary experts’ for this purpose. 

All councillors voted in favour of refusing the application.

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  1. Good.

    We don’t need entrances every 5 meters. I also find the concept of “bushfire purposes” rather incongruous here.

    If you are on the beach side, well, you have a trillion tons of water right next to you to not get burnt. Hardly rocket science there.

    Otherwise, let the native flora self replenish. Let nature work it’s magic. Good on the council for protecting the land. They are performing their true task as public servants – not only for the people of today but the children of tomorrow.

  2. What a fantastic outcome. I really admire the councilors for taking a stand against ridiculous developments. My wife’s cousin lives in Lagoon Road and would have been horrified if it would have gone ahead. We face similar issues on Mt.Tamborine Qld but we don’t have a council that stands by its constituents.


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