Fingal Rd, Fingal.
Fingal Rd, Fingal. Contributed

Tweed projects in doubt after council stops Crown Lands deal

TWEED Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council is "gobsmacked" after Tweed Shire Council ignored their concerns about not participating in the Crown Lands Negotiation Program.

While a rescission motion has been submitted, council last month voted 4-3 in favour of not working alongside Crown Lands during its Land Negotiation Program currently underway across the state, which would have potentially allowed a possible land transfer into the care of Tweed council.

During Thursday's council meeting, Tweed Byron LALC CEO Leweena Williams said she was surprised they had not been consulted ahead of council's decision to not work with Crown Lands in acquiring more land for the region.

"We're a bit gobsmacked as to council's decision," Ms Williams said.

"There are social and economic benefits that can be designed from this program. We feel that there was no discussion with Tweed Byron LALC. Our relationship (with council) is 20 plus years and this decision is a bit contradictory, especially after we've just signed up to the reconciliation plan."

While Ms Williams accepted councillors' apologies, council's executive manager of people, communication and governance Suzanne Richmond warned council of the repercussions of not participating in the program.

In response to a question by Cr Pryce Allsop about the impact of council not making any future acquisitions from Crown Lands, Ms Richmond said some of the projects that would be impacted included the new coastal cycleway at Kingscliff, the leasing of Les Burger Fields, the plan of management at Jack Evans Boat Harbour, securing land for the Pottsville Men's Shed and the Tiny Homes project.

"Not participating the Crown Lands Negotiation process has meant that Tweed's land negotiation requests have been re-prioritised below other councils who can more efficiently participate in the process and resolve their Crown Land issues in a bulk process in consultation with Crown Lands and their respective Land Councils," she said.

She said another project that could be impacted by this decision was the potential costs associated with relocating the Banora Point SES, after its lease expired in February 2019.

"Council could have used the Crown Lands negotiation review process to secure the Banora Point site at nil cost and resolved the long term tenure of the SES site at Banora Point," she said.

"It represents the single greatest monetary cost in Council's decision not to participate in the Crown Lands Negotiation process."