So just what is the truth?
Please follow the timeline below for the recent history of our campaign so far. We have included misconduct of Tweed Shire Council’s officers & councillors and explained the various laws and evidence which out them. The Tweed LEP, Tweed Strategic Plan and Tweed Futures supported evaluation of a 2 storey height limit for Pottsville, Hastings Point and Fingal. Why did Pottsville & Fingal – both bigger and less sensitive settlements than HP – get two storeys and HP not? Read on and decide for yourself.
Council Misconduct with Developer Pressure
21 July 2004
”Tweed Shire Councillor has denied he was pressured by his pre-election running mate (landowner prior to DA approval of Seniors Village – now Luxury Resort) who is one of Hastings Point’s biggest landowners, to change his vote over a plan to limit building heights to two stories in the small seaside village.” Tweed Daily News
COUNCIL BACKFLIP 1
Council Conduct under Investigation
10 November 2004
Daly Inquiry was initiated by Minister. Professor Daly investigates associations between Councillors and developers and deals with the Hastings Point’s Community battle against over development and Council backflips under developer pressure.
8 June 2005
On or about this date Tweed Council sacked – Dismissed for having associations with developers that were too close.
Immediately after Council sacked, administrators promote 2 storey in HP to protect character & environment
6 July 2005
Council administrators unanimously resolved to:
- refuse a 3 storey development because over scale and
- implement draft amendment to Tweed LEP (”LEP 81?) to amend the height limit to 2 storey for all existing allotments south of Cudgera Creek at HP
LEP 81 clearly expresses Council’s position to:
- ensure that future development is consistent with the existing character of the Hastings Point locality,
- prevent the adverse impact of bulk and scale of 3 storey buildings on existing development, existing character and the environmentally sensitive locality and landscape.
Council Planner Hodges promotes 2 storey in HP
28 January 2006
In the Daily News, Council Director of Planning, Noel Hodges is quoted as saying: “coastal building height restrictions were already in place of Kingscliff (three storeys), Pottsville and Fingal (two storeys) with plans for a two storey limit at the southern edge of Hastings Point.”
6 March 2006
Council writes to the NSW Department of Planning requesting implementation of LEP 81 stating “The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that all future development in the subject area is consistent with the character of the Hastings Point Locality.”
Suddenly Council Backlips & Abandons its previous recommendations
COUNCIL BACKFLIP 2
19 December 2006
Council resolves to abandon LEP 81. The derailing of LEP 81 justified by misrepresentations coincided with “The Point” DA coming on board and it’s owner purchasing adjoining land. In response to Council’s Abandonment of LEP 81, the Director of NSW Department of Planning wrote to Council and recommended it implement LEP 81 stating:
“In view of the locality’s sensitive coastal location, a reduction in building heights would appear to better reflect the aims and objective of the NSW Coastal Policy. In this regard, Council can continue with the proposed amendment to building heights at Hastings Point.”
The authorisation applied to LEP 81 independent of any strategic review of building heights on the Tweed Coast.
Why did Council then not implement LEP 81?
Council’s Misrepresentations justifying backflip and derailing of LEP 81:
- Council misrepresents NSW Department of Planning advices by claiming that implementation of LEP 81 was intially refused FALSE
- Council claims in opinion piece in Tweed Daily News – 10/8/07 Department of Planning rejected Council’s request for a two storey limit and that implementation must be undertaken in a Shire wide context. FALSE
NSW Department of Planning deny this and state that consistent with the wording of their letter of 30 March 2006 that they simply asked before seeking to exhibit LEP 81 that Council review heights along the Tweed Coastal Strip to give a strategic context for heights at Hastings Point – a simple exercise which Council did not act on.
- Council misrepresents the Far North Coast Regional Strategy (FNCRS) to justify approving highly dense 3 storey developments by stating that FNCRS “requires consolidation of existing residential areas rather than expansion” and as a primary objective “to contain urban sprawl.” ..”We have to fill into the height and density.” (Media releases & ltrs to Community) FALSE
See extracts from the Far North Coast Regional Strategy which clearly distinguishes between villages and regional centres/towns in relation to its policy to increase density. It states that this aim to increase density should be focused in the key centres and towns and not the villages (of which HP is the smallest) which provide highly diverse lifestyles and a sense of community reinforcing the Far North Coast as a “Region of Villages”.
- Council claims that “any proposal to reduce building height requires, as a prerequisite, a local environmental study” (Ltrs to Community) FALSE
NSW Dept of Planning specifically excluded requirement for environmental study to exhibit LEP 81 because of minor amendment. Council even stated this in LEP 81.
- Council claims that time to exhibit LEP 81 would take just as long as if they considered with the current LEP 2007 (exhibition est March 2008) FALSE
NSW Department of Planning advise, (two first points confirmed by Director of Planning in meeting in June) to implement LEP 81 all that is required is to:
- Rescind its abandonment decision in December 2006 (5 mins),
- Write to DoP again for authority to exhibit it and authority would be given immediately pursuant to DoP’s recommendation to Council on 20 March 2007. (2 days)
- Exhibit for 28 days. DoP advise that exhibition is for a period of 28 days.
Fact is that LEP 81 could have been in operation before approval of the Point Seniors Village. Even if Council just did (1), LEP 81 would be a draft plan and so its content would have prevented approval.
- Council (Tweed Daily News 24/5/7) claims that the community cannot expect to retain 2B (medium density) with a 2 storey limit. FALSE
2 storey, 2B is not only 100% legally feasible, but recommended by the NSW Department of Planning and Council with LEP 81
Misleading Letter to less than 10% of HP to justify Council backflip
10 May 2007
The dodgy letter from Director of Planning – Council sent a letter to only 50 landowners in HP to consult on height limits which was used to justify approving “The Point” and retaining 3 storey and not implementing LEP 81. The letter provided only for two options:
- 3 Storey, 2B (multi-dwelling)
- 2 Storey, 2A (single dwelling)
MISLEADING. Certain residents of the 50 addressed are angry they were misled. They thought that the only way to maintain 2B zoning was if they chose 3 storey. Not so!!!
The rest of the community outraged not consulted on an issue which creates such a significant precedent of size and scale on this small hamlet.
Council’s New Position contrary to Law
Council claims the desired future character for HP is 3 storey, residential flat buildings.
NOTE: Complete backflip from its statement on 28 January 1996 that HP would be 2 storey south of creek.
Council position contrary to Policy & Law:
- Tweed LEP 2000
- Tweed 2000+Strategic Plan
- Far North Coast Regional Strategy 2006
- NSW Coastal Policy 1997
- Tweed Futures – Council Issues Paper 2006
- North Coast Regional Environmental Plan
- SEPP 71 (Coastal Protection)
- Coastal Design Guidelines for NSW 2003
- North Coast Urban Design Guidelines
Why all this unlawful misconduct? Same time that the big “Point” development and multiple proposals were on the drawing board.
3 July 2007
Council’s own position (as appeared in Tweed Link) “..your planning reform unit has a range of projects that will have the major outcomes to ..protect existing coastal village identity, preserve environmental area.”
Hypocritical – What is it for Hastings Point?
3 August 2007
Tweed Daily News: Council’s Director of Planning, Mr Hodges, claims “a new Local Environmental Plan included a 3 storey height limit for Hastings Point…..
“Development at medium density, even two storeys, is going to end up with three or four townhouses on each block, cheek by jowl.”
The man that changes his mind with the wind – the developer wind at his back. He now works for Leda Developments – Bob Ells – proposing highly controversial Cobaki and Kings Forest developments.
Lawsuits & Expert Instructed
21 August 2007
Only as the community sues Council twice for two unlawful merit assessment of DAs including “the Point” does Council resolve “to engage Ruker & Associates Urban Design to assess height and density provisions in the local LEP for Hastings Point” and “defers the assessment and determination of development applications .. until the report from Ruker & Associates Urban Design is finalised for Council’s consideration.” It initiated instruction to Ruker to consider all HP.
Council Breaches Resolutions
3 December 2007
Council breaches its own Moratorium and restricts the review to only South of the bridge at the request of its Director of Planning – Noel Hodges, inviting only a small section of the community and only reviewing part of the locality. It oppresses the rest of the community. Hodges ignored the advice of his department and Council’s expert to do this.
22 January 2008
Council breaches its own resolution and approves large 3 storey development – north of bridge, dishonestly claims moratorium was for only Sth of Bridge. This was a breach of its 21 August 2007 resolution. No one in the community was notified that the moratorium had been so restricted, subsequently no significant objections to the DA were raised. The community only learned of the decision after it was made.
5, 6, 7 February 2008
Legal proceedings re “the Point” and 21 Coast Rd heard in Land & Environment Court regarding density and height issues relevant to all 3 storey slabs proposed for HP.
Council ignores relevance of pending Court decision.
Despite imminent decision to be made by Justice Payne in the L&E Court, Council misapplies the law to greenlight DA’s previously subject to its moratorium. No local voice, HP takes it’s questions to Parliament
Council Misconduct Raised in Parliament
4 March 2008
Tweed Council misconduct raised in NSW parliament. NSW Greens MP Sylvia Hale put a series of questions on notice to the Minister for Local Government about allegations of unethical behaviour by the Tweed Council administration.
11 March 2008
20 unit, 3 storey non-compliant development of Mr McIntosh approved in very unethical and pre-determined circumstances. Council refused to wait for the pending decision of Justice Payne. Why? We’ll leave that to the punters!!!
Council unjustifiably attacks Community
Council launches into a vitriolic media attack on Hastings Point residents because they dared question!!!
They accused the community of lodging some political campaign because they asked questions at a state level – only after being ignored at the local level.
12 March 2008
As Council refuses to listen and instead attacks a community for properly questioning its unlawful decisions, the community – young and old, north and south – launch their Nude Video on You tube. Maybe the world will – over 20,000 hits.
Expert’s Report supports Community
Council’s independent urban design consultant, Ruker & Associates, hands down report on inadequacy of planning controls for HP. Nutshell: she recommends:
- Need Locality Plan for HP to protect its unique, low key and sensitive character and environment.
- Large unit blocks inappropriate for HP. I.E. the Point
- 2 Storey and 2 dwellings per block until locality plan implemented.
- Environmental expert be employed as part of locality plan process given the sensitive environment and recent damage
Community’s First Win in 20 years
18 November 2008
Council’s Planning Department recommends refusal of large 3 storey unit block right on edge of our estuary (PDK block – The Point developers).
This was the DA approval which the community brought legal action against and won. The developer arrogantly put up the same DA again for approval and lost. Law applied. GREAT RESULT
Developer ordered to pull up footings that he arrogantly put in during the Court proceedings and re-mediate the site. Despite this, the same developers arrogantly commence the Point development while in Court. No lesson learned.
BUT MEANTIME MORE DELAYS WITH MORE MISREPRESENTATIONS – 7 months expired and still only exhibited half Ruker’s controls.
Council ignores Ruker’s density control and implements a clayton’s pretend version that has no practical effect. Council continues to provide no protection for the North side. The silly division of a small HAMLET created by Hodges and management goes on.
Council justifies its actions with 2 misrepresentations – no need to protect the north side as LOT 156 development is dormant (FALSE) and no need for a real density control because Tweed Shire DCP is sufficient (FALSE) despite the drafter of that DCP, Ruker, saying it is insufficient for HP.
4 Good Councillors
FINALLY – 4 Responsible Councillors support Ruker’s controls and commence mission to Save HP
The Community applauds the actions of Mayor Van Lieshout, Deputy Mayor Longland and Councillors Milne and Holdom for correctly following their Department of Planning’s advices in adopting at least partial controls to protect HP and to refuse a large over scaled PDK 3 storey unit block.
3 Dodgy Councillors – is it the 3 Stoogers or 3 Little Pigs?
But 3 pro-development Councillors up to old tricks – Polglase, Youngblutt and Skinner were busily ignoring law, policy and Council’s Code of Conduct to try to save developments for their lobby mates. They are still at it. “Prosperity for the few” their catch cry – obviously unscathed by the Daly Inquiry. Skinner – “a man’s land is his Castle and he can build what he wants on it.”
27 January 2009
Councillors Milne and Longland motion for Ruker’s recommended controls for all HP and a real density control. Will it ever happen? – 9 months now expired.
Councillor Polglase causes delay of the application of the implementation of the density control again by misrepresenting how draft DCPs are made public and confusing various councillors and the Director of Planning.
Not good Mr Polglase!!!! – Some things never change!!!