Council debate descends into war of words aimed at Provest
A COUNCIL decision on Crown land for affordable housing turned into a heated war of words against the state member for Tweed.
At the Tweed Shire Council meeting on Thursday, councillors voted 4-3 to reject the proposal to consider re-engaging in Crown land negotiations.
The decision came in light of a letter reply to the council from Tweed MP Geoff Provest, nearly a year after the council reached out to him.
The discussion at the council meeting descended into heated comments, led by Mayor Katie Milne and councillor Reece Byrnes.
Cr Milne put forward an amendment on Thursday to express the council's displeasure with Mr Provest's inaction on the issue of homelessness.
While this was supported by a vote of 4-3, it was Cr Byrnes who had the strongest comments in the meeting.
"I can tell you what has happened since 2010 as someone who worked on the street - a lot have died, from substance abuse and violence,” Cr Byrnes said.
"(Provest) sits on top of a big pile of mess, and it's a human mess.
"He shouldn't even front up to the election, he should just resign and leave.”
Last week, Mr Provest announced plans to build 50 units made up of private, social and affordable housing that would support up to 115 homeless people in the Tweed.
Not all of the councillors were in agreement with the sentiment.
Councillor Pryce Allsop said the council should be engaging in Crown land negotiations, questioning why the council was reluctant to undertake the initiative.
Mr Allsop said securing Crown land would provide better locations for the affordable housing scheme - proposed by councillor Ron Cooper earlier this month - than using the suggested industrial land.
Cr Cooper said the proposed site was the ideal location for his plan, stating it would leave a small environmental footprint and would allow for job opportunities at the nearby industrial site.
This proposal was picked apart by councillor Warren Polglase, who said the concept would not work without a proper business plan.
"I've never seen such uncontrolled emotion get a hold of my fellow councillors,” Cr Polglase said.
"To put forward all of these points is irresponsible. We need a very strong business plan, not some pie in the sky. You haven't got a clue, Ron.”