Animal deaths behind tower development restriction
MAYOR Katie Milne has revealed a key reason for her fight against tower housing in the Tweed.
"The bird, bat, other flying wildlife and insects will strike the high-rise buildings," she says.
The Greens mayor strongly opposed the approval of 10-storey height limits at a full council meeting on Wednesday night, saying the decision was "opening the doors" to the shire turning into the Gold Coast.
Tweed councillors backed developer Leda's bid to increase height limits from three storeys at the $3 billion Cobaki estate.
Cr Milne objected to the move because of rising sea levels and "bird, bat, other flying wildlife and insects striking the high-rise buildings".
"I have concerns about impacts of bird strikes in those high-rise developments in regards to reflective services like steel and glass - and our international obligation to protect birds," an angry Cr Milne said.
"You open the door here councillors and (highrises) will pop up here and there. It is opening up the doors to the Gold Coast-type development that residents of the Tweed do not want."
The NSW Government has approved Leda building 5500 homes at Cobaki, southwest of the Gold Coast Airport.
Leda, owned by billionaire Bob Ell, has applied to modify the plans several times. They include removing a ban on cats to increasing the height limit from three storeys to 10.
The project is so large it is being managed by the NSW Government and does not require council approval. However, the Government is accepting submissions on proposed changes.
A council-commissioned report from August shows the shire is in a housing affordability crisis.
The number of social houses available in the region is nearly half the NSW average, forcing desperate people to the brink of homelessness.
Residents earn lower-than-average income, pay above average rent, and only 80 social houses had been added to the register in the past three years. A population boom was also contributing to the problem.
Cr Milne's motion to object to the height changes at Cobaki was rejected by the councillors.
"I am really horrified that you would seek to disregard the existing planning provisions in regard to height which has been a long-held community position forever," she said.
Labor councillor Reece Byrnes said high-rise developments should be allowed north of the Tweed River.
"As long as I have been alive, north of the river there has been highrises," he said.
"We are able to retain the coastal villages and up in the valley.
"But north of the river there are areas where you have to do what you can to deal with the growing population."
Cr Pryce Allsop said the Tweed needed developments on this large scale.
"I do believe it is very close to the Queensland border and there is nothing wrong with this type of development there," he said.
"We have been talking about housing affordability. The reality is by not allowing this, you are pushing prices up."
Cr Milne interrupted, saying there was not one affordable home at Cobaki estate and Cr Allsop was "not saying correct things".
He fired back, adding "she was not saying correct things".
Veteran councillor Warren Polglase spoke up.
"It is like a kindergarten in here," he said.
Cr Milne was able to add an amendment, asking the NSW Government to engage in community consultation if the height limit was to change.
Cr Milne, Cr Chris Cherry, Cr Ron Cooper and Cr Reece Byrnes supported the motion. Cr Polglase, Cr Allsop and Cr James Owen voted against it because of Cr Milne's amendment seeking community consultation.