NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley is visiting Kingscliff this morning to show Labor’s support for retaining Kingscliff’s long-fought-for three-storey height limit.
The three-storey limit has become a major issue over the years as developer pressure and community wishes collide as the popularity of the coastal town grows.
The issue has been raised in both state and federal parliaments recently.
Mr Foley will be joined for the announcement by shadow minister for the north coast Walt Secord, as well as federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot and Tweed councillor Reece Byrnes at 10.30am at the southern end of Faulks Park on the corner of Marine Parade and Moss Street.
Last month, Tweed Shire Council narrowly passed a motion to place on exhibition a draft development control plan for the town, further tightening the three-storey height control by requiring council officers they not negotiate the three-storey limit upwards with developers in exchange for ‘community benefits’.
Cr Ron Cooper at the time said that the practice was ‘opaque horse-trading where the dollar benefit to the developer is difficult to compare with the dollar benefit to the ratepayer’.
‘Other developers in the area could also demand the same sort of deal. It is a wide-spread practice among councils.
‘This remains a possibility until the LEP is amended to harmonize with the Kingscliff Locality Plan, that is 13.6 metres in the Mixed-use Business Zones (two residential levels above retail), which allows higher retail ceilings plus air conditioning ducting, and 12.2 metres in Medium-density Residential Zones (unit development) – this allows three storeys above a 1.2 metres podium.
‘If 13.6 metres had been left in the Medium-density Residential Zones, that would have allowed four-storey buildings. This is the prevailing configuration now on Marine Parade,’ Cr Cooper said.
Mr Secord says he has supported a community-based campaign to retain height limits at Kingscliff ‘to protect the Tweed from greedy property developers’.
He made the comments in a speech to the NSW Parliament’s Legislative Council on Labor’s bill – Local Government Amendment (Disqualification from Civic Office) Bill 2017 to ban property developers and real estate agents from standing in the September 2017 local government elections.
The bill was defeated 19 to 18.
Mr Secord said he supported efforts by Mrs Elliot and Tweed shire councillors Ron Cooper (Independent) and Cr Byrnes (Labor) who are also opposing moves by the Liberals and Nationals to remove the height limits at Kingscliff.
The state MP also launched a scathing attack on Cr James Owen (Liberal) for his comments in local media endorsing a removal of height limits.
Mr Secord told parliament that:
‘The NSW Liberals and their junior Coalition partners, the Nationals, must choose to say no to the gravy stained property developers and real estate agents who are lurking at the local government level in the Liberal and Nationals parties. It is known that the Liberals and Nationals are particularly active in these circles.
‘James Owen is the first Liberal endorsed councillor on Tweed Shire Council. Along with his Nationals party cronies, he is already fighting the restriction of height limits in key suburbs,’ he said.
The MP said the councillor was reported on 29 March opposing a three-storey height limit in Kingscliff, ‘appearing in a photograph with the headline “Kingscliff draft heights could be too small.”
‘Councillor Owen opposed limiting residential buildings to 12.2 metres and businesses to 13.6 metres.’
Cr Owen told media he couldn’t support the height limit ‘because it is going to mean that my children will not have the future I’d envisaged for them in Kingscliff’.
Mr Secord said ‘In a single sentence the Liberals and Nationals have given it all away. Their vision for Kingscliff is an overdevelopment nightmare, housing developments in Kingscliff so large that the beach is in shade’.
‘The last thing we want to see is beautiful Kingscliff, with its unique quality of life and wonderful village atmosphere, replaced by Gold Coast skyscrapers.’
Cr Cooper said the state government still has to approve the Locality Plan after it is re-exhibited this month.
‘Tweed is a marginal seat at both levels of government. The petition of 14,250 signatures will be in play’.
He said two conservative ‘pro-taller-buildings candidates could be up for pre-selection sometime down the track’, which would highlight the issue in a political campaign.
In the 1990s, Cr Cooper fought a council election campaign in which he successfully helped a campaign to stop high-rises at the booming millionaire’s row at Fingal Head next door to Kingscliff.