Out of six councillors, only two voted against the DA in spite of massive opposition from local residents who had a long list of complaints. They were Councillor Katie Milne and Barry Longland. Over 500 submissions were received by council. In the Land and Environment Court hearing, 100 people spoke against it and only 1 for it. In spite of this the Commissioner approved it.
Although an Environmental Impact Statement was done some time ago, it was shelved. The advice given in the EIS was not acted upon by the developer, and instead a forest of rare and endangered species of trees (including teak and red cedar) where koalas once lived was clearcut. This clearcutting was done before the DA was approved. I wonder what the Ombudsman would say about all this?
Ironically, the four councillors who voted in favour of the DA all stood on a green platform at the last elections.
Local residents spoke eloquently and with great passion enumerating the many reasons why they opposed it. The main argument was the size of the village for the location. How ludicrous to have 130 three storey units, 250 houses, a 100-bed backpacker and 100-bed motel and 50 assorted shops in a remote area with a pub.
By far the most important concern was the very real possibility of effluent going into the Tweed River which is the town's drinking water, in the event of heavy rainfall and a failed filtration system. This would be a key issue not only for humans but for endangered species such as the Giant Barred frog who live in the vicinity.
How unrealistic to restrict future Nightcap residents to only half the amount of water that people in the town of Murwillumbah use. This will force the council to truck water in to parched residents at Nightcap village and who will pay for this? Ratepayers, people who are already unhappy with recent rate increases.
A predicted 4,500 extra car movements per day on narrow, winding, country roads will slow down locals’ day, make it even more dangerous for them to enter Kyogle Road from rural properties whose entry may not be obvious, increase road kill, road accidents, vehicle pollution and in general detract from the village atmosphere Uki and local residents so enjoy. Locals can kiss goodbye their magnificent view of the stars illuminating a pitch-black night sky.
Not only was no EIS study presented, but also no aboriginal heritage study. According to a local water diviner, Peter Symmons, there is an aboriginal curse on the land due to a massacre that occurred some centuries ago that whoever lives on the land will receive the curse.
The four councillors who voted in favour of the DA - Dot Holdom, Kevin Skinner, Warren Polglaze and Phil Youngblutt - with at times bored looks on their faces, not even paying attention to speakers, were chided by one speaker for their rudeness. Several speakers complained that they had better things to do with their time than address council, who is appears to be serving the needs of developers ahead of the people who elected them.
Courageous green councillor Katie Milne, made a motion to reject the DA, reminding the other councillors how they stood on a green voting platform and their need to listen to the wishes of the people along with all the very valid complaints presented. Her motion was seconded by Cr Barry Longland. However they were outnumbered by the other four pro-development councillors.
On announcement of the vote in favour of the DA, the gallery broke into a near brawl, as residents yelled at the top of their voices their extreme anger and disappointment.
A number of amendments were made among which was a clause to require of the developer a $200,000 bank guarantee until 100 premises have been connected to the sewage treatment system to ensure the system is maintained. But then what happens after the 100th premise is sold and the rains begin in earnest to flood the area, as it is well known to do. Why doesn't the guarantee stay in place? Not that money will solve the problem of flooded sewage overflowing into the Tweed!
Strangely enough, according to a reliable source, the developer's original vision was to have composting toilets and a maximum of 450 people but both were rejected by council who forced him to have the current unsatisfactory sewage system and 1,000 residents, both requirements of which have raised the most objections by the community.
Tonight’s decision clearly shows us in the Tweed Shire there is no democracy – most of the councillors do not appear to care what people want. Logical deduction suggests that their actions must be motivated by concerns other than democratic representation. Residents also have grave concerns about the role played in advising and decision-making by General Manager Mike Rayner based on his appointment as Director on the board of Repco Rally Australia.
The role of Council General Manager, Mike Rayner, seems obscure to the residents. He has authority and influence over councillors and staff by virtue of his position as manager, yet he has no personal duty to represent the electorate, albeit, as a public servant. Residents feel he should be demonstrably above all vested interest, both political and pecuniary, as clearly stated in the Council Code of Conduct. The residents are concerned that they have little information about how Rayner affects decisions or where he stands on them, particularly since his primary duty is to his employers rather than to the political concerns of local residents.
After the extraordinary meeting deciding the DA on Nightcap Village, people in the community feel it's time to sack this council including Mike Rayner, and keep only the two councillors serving the people – Crs Katie Milne and Barry Longland. And this time, change the laws so that previously sacked councillors and general manager will be ineligible to run for office.
See also: "Raceway through the Rainforest. Paradise lost!" of 19 Apr 09, "Kyogle residents fight World Rally motor race" of 7 Mar 09 and other articles about fight by Tweed and Kyogle residents against World Car Rally.
Daisy Uriad (not verified)
Fri, 2009-05-08 12:09
Open letter to Tweed Shire yes Councillors
truthteller (not verified)
Sun, 2009-05-10 23:12
Better that Tweed Shire agreed to Nightcap with conditions
Anonymous (not verified)
Mon, 2009-05-11 22:24
Green goose killed for golden egg
Anonymous (not verified)
Wed, 2009-05-13 16:14
Every living being " takes up space... "
Tue, 2009-06-23 21:12
Let them build up the coast...
Marc (not verified)
Fri, 2012-03-23 01:25
Somehow the guttless mouthpieses always run the country
questioner (not verified)
Wed, 2009-05-13 16:24
China has done more to tackle overpopulation
Nightcap-chaser (not verified)
Fri, 2009-05-08 12:16
Tweed mayor MARRIED to Developer Peter van Lieshout
Milly (not verified)
Sun, 2009-05-10 14:19
Society is heading towards mass suicide!
Anonymous (not verified)
Sat, 2009-05-23 11:31
Nightcap Village - better than what was there......
Sat, 2009-05-23 14:53
Others in region threatened by Nightcap also fix the land
Paul Scott (not verified)
Mon, 2009-05-25 18:32
Decision has been made - Live with it...........
It was not the developer who mentioned the work done to rehabitate the land as assumed by James Sinnamon but by me who just happens to live and work in the immediate area. Like that assumption made, many of the other reasons against this development are just that. Assumptions made with little or no regard to fact. How does anyone obtain a living? By having a job, which in the current climate are rapidly disappearing. Did you know, that we employ upto 20 people for about 40 weeks each year right here in the valley.
Surely if the people choose to live at the Nightcap Village they would become rate payers of the Tweed Shire and therefore contribute to the road costs. Also a sustantial part of the purchase price, known as road contribution, of these blocks goes to the council to cover the road costs.
If one was to believe everything one hears about what is going to be built in the village, it is going to be bigger than Sydney with more hotel beds than the Gold Coast.
As I have previously said, protest as is your right, but please use fact not assumptions......
Tue, 2009-05-26 03:05
Disregard of residents' wishes by Tweed Shire Council
I am not exactly sure why it is that Paul Scott expects that Tweed Shire residents who have strenuously objected to the Nightcap development will accede to his edict that they "live with" the decision of the Tweed Shire Council to ignore their wishes, but I sincerely hope that the Tweed Shire residents tell Paul Scott where to put his advice.
I wonder what Paul's understanding of the concept of 'democracy' is?
My understanding of democracy, to once again borrow US President Abraham Lincoln's immortal words, is 'government of the people, by the people, for the people'.
What has happened in Tweed Shire is clearly different.
Clearly, the Tweed Shire Councilors, the majority of which have been voted into office on the basis of being supposedly pro-environment and anti-developer, have been somehow got at behind the backs of those who voted them into office and been persuaded to disregard their wishes.
Paul Scott wrote:
This is completely beside the point. In fact, if it was not the developer that supposedly rehabilitated the land, then they would have even less moral right to build the housing estate. As I wrote earlier, many others in the region have also worked hard to rehabilitate the land, but have not presumed that this gives them the right to profit enormously at the expense of fellow residents by plonking a huge residential development in their midst.
So, Paul Scott, do you, or don't you have a direct financial stake in the development proceeding?
Paul Scott wrote:
But I thought that they were going to build 130 three storey units, 250 houses, a 100-bed backpacker and 100-bed motel and 50 shops?
It seems like far more dwellings than are necessary to house those 20 people to me, even assuming that their work is socially useful, sustainable and will endure.
Paul Scott wrote:
In fact, it is well understood that population growth costs the local community and does not pay for itself. That is why council rates, water charges electricity charges, etc, are going up in South East Queensland as a consequence of the state Government's recklessly irresponsible policy of encouragement of population growth.
Property speculators openly gloat at how they will profit from improvements to land value made possible by the construction of infrastructure at the expense of taxpayers and local ratepayers, not to mention the Federal and State Government's policies to deliberately drive up population at the behest of the Growth Lobby.
Notwithstanding the supposed road contribution, it is unlikely that the situation with Nightcap will be fundamentally different.
Even if it can be shown that the costs can be fully recovered, it should still be the democratic right of local communities to preserve their way of life should they so choose.
Tue, 2009-05-26 21:31
On the subject of not getting facts straight
Anonymous (not verified)
Fri, 2009-05-29 11:16
How do 1000 people create 4500 extra movements a day?