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Tweed Shire News

A NEW TWEED HEADS

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A NEW TWEED HEADS

First look at proposed $180m city centre set to transform the Tweed

Exclusive report by MARGARET DEKKER

Forget the ‘twin towns’ of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta ..

Tweed Heads could soon be ‘two cities’ under a bold and unprecedented redevelopment bid by ASX-listed Elanor Investors Group (ENN) to create a contemporary high-rise CBD, right in the heart of the aged border town.

If approved, the $180-million project would see the 5-ha Tweed Mall, “the biggest site in the Tweed CBD,” transformed under a mixed-used masterplan DA currently being drafted.

In an announcement to the ASX on October 10, Elanor Investors Group opened its Tweed Mall Mixed-Use Real Estate Fund having acquired the Tweed Mall shopping centre for $87 million.

“The mixed-use masterplan is in accordance with planning controls endorsed by the NSW Government and Tweed Shire Council and is expected to be approved in 2023,” Michael Baliva, ENN’s Co-Head of Real Estate said.

“1,000+ dwellings and other uses (hotel, commercial, retirement living etc). will unlock substantial real estate value,” Elanor’s investor flyer – sited by The Northern Rivers Times – states.

On the drawing board; a high-density, residential-commercial-retail complex of multiple residential towers up to 49.5m or 15 storeys tall.  The centre would be “anchored by three strongly-performing supermarkets” plus everyday-needs tenants in a mixed-use plan on a “strategic coastal .. and favourably zoned 5-hectare site that presents the opportunity to develop 1,000+ dwellings and new town centre precinct,” Elanor’s investor flyer states.

This ‘second’ Tweed Heads city centre would sprawl east of main Wharf Street.  The current city centre lies west of Wharf Street, intersecting with Bay Street.

The Tweed Mall site is already identified as having significant redevelopment potential to become a ‘landmark high density mixed-use precinct’ under the NSW Government’s Tweed Regional City Action Plan 2036, released in April this year.

With a ‘B3 Core Commercial’ zoning, Tweed Shire Council has also identified the 49-year-old Tweed Mall as “a key site for urban renewal” in its Tweed City Centre LEP 2012.

“Tweed Shire Council is now working with the proponents to get a full master plan of the site,” Cr Chris Cherry, Tweed Mayor confirmed to The Northern Rivers Times.

“And we must be realistic, it will be high-rise.  To protect the rest of the Tweed, we have to have housing density in that northern area of the Shire.

“I think there is capacity to put dense housing development there, 1–2-bedroom apartments, these smaller places we do need in the Tweed,” she added.

Design of an integrated, whole Master Plan is underway with the appointment in August of a NSW Design Review Panel (DRP) comprising government architects and landscape designers.  An earlier, local requirement for the site’s design to go to ‘competition’ was waived by Tweed Shire Council in May, giving stakeholders better control of the final design.

“It’s important to us that the site catches the essence of the Tweed, its unique biodiversity, character, and community.  We expect it to be the best of the best in design, an integrated green development with setbacks, green areas, something that will also improve the entrance to the Tweed, and we want it to provide a lot of public amenities,” Cr Chris Cherry, Tweed Mayor said.

“We want it to be a good quality high-rise that we can be proud of,” she added.

Mayor Cherry stressed the huge project had not received state and local Government approvals – contrary to Elanor’s marketing – nor is a DA lodged yet with Tweed Shire Council.

“The flyer indicates the project already has state and local government approval which is incorrect .. it’s definitely not appropriate to have Tweed Shire Council’s logo on the flyer,” Cr Chris Cherry, Tweed Mayor said.

Details on the project’s total number of dwellings and associated traffic issues will be debated.

“One-thousand-plus residences is an assumption and is likely overestimating the number of dwellings the project will house .. and nobody wants to create a traffic nightmare,” Cr Chris Cherry, Tweed Mayor said.

“There is a lot of room to improve.  The artists’ impression is certainly quite a different picture to what we’re envisaging,” she added.

This proposed new high-rise city for Tweed Heads is a clear (and some might argue ominous) sign the Gold Coast skyline is fast-moving south across the border.

Pro-development Tweed Shire councillor Warren Polglase told The Northern Rivers Times the new Tweed Heads city centre has been in the pipeline for 18-months and estimates 3-years until construction of this “opportunity of a lifetime for the Tweed.”

“This is the new CBD of Tweed Heads!” Cr Warren Polglase, Tweed Shire Councillor said.

“It’s the first time we’ve had the chance to have a major opportunity come our way, this has never happened before,” he enthused.

“And these are very creative people, doing new things in architecture.  We’re dealing with firms that work all over the world.”

A potential big commercial tenant – which The Northern Rivers Times has chosen not to name – is already reportedly enquiring about 3000m2 of corporate office space.

It represents big business and Cr. Warren Polglase is picturing the flow-on effects from Elanor’s proposed new city centre in Tweed Heads.

“This is an ideal opportunity for large commercial activity in the Tweed Shire.  And when you get one company of this stature invest in the Tweed, it will attract others to the new CBD.  Corporate investment like this, attracts more investment.

“Lismore was always the ‘Rome’ of the Northern Rivers, now it’s lost that, so there are a lot of people looking further north now.  Entrepreneurs of many vocations are looking to the Tweed saying, ‘we need a major facility,’” Cr. Warren Polglase, Tweed Councillor said.

The veteran councillor and President of the Tweed Chamber of Commerce and Industry described the major project as “a no brainer,” in line with other big-ticket items under construction or recently completed in the Tweed.

“We have a brand-new international airport at our door, a new hospital being built which is magnificent, millions spent on renovating schools, Motorway upgrades, the Gold Coast is expanding its light-rail south and now this proposal,” Cr Warren Polglase said.

Local demographics also tell of soaring demand for “lifestyle living for the over 60s group” and little housing stock in Tweed Heads.  The proposed new city centre would be situated only metres from the Jack Evans Boat Harbour and parklands, the big Twin Towns Services Club and is less than a kilometre to the surf at Coolangatta.  Strong interstate migration is also helping fuel population growth in the shire’s sub-tropical capital.

“It’s an opportunity to switch the lights on in the Tweed!” Warren Polglase said,

“New, vibrant, creative activity, we need all of that.”

With an estimated $180 million+ budget, the proposed Tweed Mall redevelopment becomes a project of State significance, but Tweed Shire Council will want input and Cr Polglase hopes, its unanimous support.

“We don’t want roadblocks suddenly taking this away,” he said.

Tweed Shire Mayor Chris Cherry conceded.

“It would be a good use of the site if done well,” she said, as Tweed Heads residents have begun contacting Mayor Cherry expressing concerns about the scale of the towering redevelopment in ‘their backyards.’

Glenn Willis, Elanor CEO and Managing Director said via statement:

“We are pleased with the strong demand from our capital partners for this fund.  This investment exemplifies Elanor’s strategy of investing in high-quality town centre real estate assets to unlock value through innovative and highly active management.  Elanor is a market leader in delivering strong investor returns from repositioning retail real estate assets, having successfully executed numerous repositioning strategies across Australia.”

State Member for Tweed, Geoff Provest MP was contacted for comment.

As the place-name ‘Tweed Heads’ hinted long ago, it may’ve always been destined to be a ‘tale of two cities’ .. potentially.

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Kingscliff NSW News

Do You Support an Extension to the Lease of the Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village?

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Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village
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Do You Support an Extension to the Lease of the Kingscliff Temporary Housing Village?

 

Council is seeking community feedback on a proposal to extend the lease on parkland at Kingscliff to accommodate the temporary housing pod for an additional six months. The NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA) has requested a six-month extension to the temporary village lease at Elrond Drive, Kingscliff, extending it to December 2025.

The extension would provide additional time for the RA and Northern Rivers Housing (NRH) to support residents into long-term housing and to allow for the decommissioning of the pods during this extension period.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry emphasised the importance of this extension, stating, “There are currently more than 450 households living in 11 temporary housing sites across the region, and a significant waitlist of people still seeking housing support.”

“Kingscliff’s temporary housing village has 31 self-contained housing units which provide a safe and secure home to more than 60 people affected by the 2022 floods. Some residents are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt, while others need to find an affordable rental property,” Cr Cherry added.

While the Council supports this request for a six-month extension, it seeks input from local residents to understand their views on the request before making a final decision.

Council owns the land at 99 Elrond Drive, where the Kingscliff temporary housing village is located. In June 2022, Council entered into a three-year lease of the property with Resilience NSW, now known as the NSW Reconstruction Authority (RA). The lease was established for the construction, maintenance, and operation of temporary housing and is set to expire on 16 June 2025.

The temporary housing villages were originally intended to provide up to two years of accommodation for displaced households as a result of the 2022 floods, with the remaining lease period allocated for site restoration. However, due to widespread housing stress and contractor shortages in the region, residents of the temporary housing village face significant obstacles to returning home or securing alternative stable housing.

In November 2023, Council received a request from the NSW RA to extend the lease for an additional two years until June 2027. Following this request, a meeting was hosted by the NSW RA and Council with neighbouring residents in February 2024. During this meeting, the NSW RA indicated the request to extend the lease for two more years (until 2027) had been withdrawn.

In May 2024, Council received a new request from the NSW RA to extend the lease for an additional six months until 31 December 2025. At Council’s meeting on 16 May, it was resolved to agree to this extension, subject to public notification and consultation with residents of the pod village and the wider community.

Additionally, it was resolved to consult with the community to determine the future use of the space. This consultation will take place separately before the end of the lease in December next year.

Residents are encouraged to provide feedback on the extension of the lease before 5 pm on Wednesday, 3 July 2024. Council will consider all submissions before deciding whether to proceed with the extension.

Have your say online at yoursaytweed.com.au/99ElrondDrive, email tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au, or write to the General Manager, Tweed Shire Council, PO Box 816, Murwillumbah, NSW 2484.

 

For more local Kingscliff news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

14 projects share in $300,000 Community Building Partnership pool

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14 projects share in $300,000 Community Building Partnership pool

 

STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin today (Friday, 7 June) announced that 14 projects had been successful under the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership program for 2023.

Ms Saffin congratulated this round’s recipients and encouraged local organisations developing worthwhile projects to applicants to sign up for alerts about the CBP program so they are notified when information about the next round is confirmed.

“Remember that there is only $300,000 to be spread across the entire electorate each year so please be realistic with the amount of funding sought,” Ms Saffin says.

“The Premier’s Department has introduced strict probity measures around this grant program, including the overlay of independent assessment.”

Recipients of CBP funding for this 2023 round include:   

Lismore City LGA:

The Lismore Soup Kitchen Incorporated – towards improving amenities for volunteers and the hundreds of customers of The Good Pantry Lismore – new cool storage will be purchased and installed. — $33,350.

Lismore Memorial Amateur Swimming Club Incorporated – towards capacity building of competitive swimming in Lismore – $19,353.

Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited – acquisition of night vision goggles (NVG) for its Lismore base – $18,970.

RSL LifeCare Limited – towards commissioning a local artist to install a mural as a war memorial/commemorative space at Chauvel Village Goonellabah, honouring Sir Harry Chauvel, of the Australian Lighthorse. — $5,000.

Tenterfield Shire LGA:

Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism Industry & Business Incorporated – new Tenterfield Visitors Information Centre – shopfront fitout, purchasing and installing free-standing equipment in a newly-leased building – $30,000.

Mingoola Hall Management Committee Incorporated – towards enhancing facilities at Mingoola Hall (fire exit side access to toilets to building code, installing a water tank) — $29,439.

Kyogle LGA:

Kyogle PA&H Society (Kyogle Show) – towards repairing the showground’s three arena surfaces to make them safe for competitors and exhibitors as the ground has become uneven and sloping. – $30,000.

Bonalbo and District Community Hall Association Incorporated – towards removal of ceiling tiles which pose a risk to volunteers and hall users, replacing them with new ones – $16,000.

Country Women’s Association of NSW – Tabulam Branch – towards supplying and installing a 4.5 kw grid connect solar system including panels, inverter, mounting rail and balance of system — $7,700.

The Girl Guides Association of NSW – Kyogle Girl Guide Hall kitchen upgrade (purchase stainless steel materials to replace a kitchen which was destroyed by flood – $5,500.

Tweed Shire LGA:

Uki Sporting Horse Association – towards all weather multi-purpose sand arena (to resurface arena with long-lasting road base and sand, providing a flood-free, safe, all-weather, multi-purpose facility – $30,000.

Coolangatta-Wollumbin (Mount Warning) Dragon Boat Club Incorporated – Wollumbin Transport Vehicle (purchase a vehicle for towing dragon boats to training and regattas. Current 4WD vehicle is old and near the end of its life – $29,000.

Tweed Regional Museum – towards accessible drinking water for Tweed Regional Museum (provision of two accessible drinking fountains, indoor and outdoor, for visitors to the museum – $11,175.

Byron Shire LGA hinterland:

Federal Community Children’s Centre Incorporated – outdoor blind installation and soft fall repair and extension – $34,513.

Electorate-wide total — $300,000.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Rare Encounter: Humpback Whales surprise fishermen in Tweed River

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Fishermen captured footage of two humpback whales that swam into the Tweed River
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Rare Encounter: Humpback Whales surprise fishermen in Tweed River

 

By Sarah Waters

What started as a typical morning of fishing on the bar in the Tweed River, ended in an unexpected surprise for Bryce Piper, 24, and Peter Berger, 37, last Tuesday morning.

The two keen fishermen, from Berger Houseboat Holidays, were coming back into the Tweed Marina at about 7am when two humpback whales came up behind their boat.

“They popped up probably about 10 meters behind us – we drifted in with them – at the entrance of the bar,” Bryce said.

“It was pretty crazy to be honest, it’s not something you can really appreciate unless you understand that whales don’t usually come into the river,” he said.

The whales, believed to be quite young in age, passed Jack Evans Boat Harbour, and went towards the first bend in the Tweed River.

They hung around for about 20 minutes, before making their way back out to sea.

The entrance of the Tweed River which humpback whales came into last Tuesday morning

The entrance of the Tweed River which humpback whales came into last Tuesday morning

Bryce said he has come across humpback whales plenty of times before while he was out fishing or diving in the ocean but had never seen them in the river.

“It was a beautiful morning, the water was crystal clear, sun was out – you honestly couldn’t get much better.

“Being there and seeing that was definitely the best experience.

“They were just flapping around, it’s not like they were stressed – I think it’s because the water quality at the moment is next level, so it doesn’t really surprise me that they came up the river, but I couldn’t tell you why.

“It was close to high tide as well.”

Bryce said the sight of the whales made for a ‘perfect’ morning out on the water.

Peter Berger, 37, maintenance officer at Berger Houseboat Holidays, saw two humpback whales in the Tweed River last week

Peter Berger, 37, maintenance officer at Berger Houseboat Holidays, saw two humpback whales in the Tweed River last week

The two fishermen also caught bonito fish in the river that morning, which is something that doesn’t usually happen.

Commercial fisherman Joel Merchant was spotting for mullet when he also managed to film the humpbacks.

Joel, who was born and bred in the Tweed, said it was the fourth time in about 25 years he has seen humpback whales go into the river.

“They were just adventuring around,” Joel said.

“They were cruising along close, going in for a bit of a look and then cruising back out again, they were more curious.

“It was a lovely morning, and it was so calm – they just sort of cruised in like it was the ocean – they didn’t have to go through the surf breaks or anything,” he said.

Humpback whales pass Australia’s east coast between May and July after a summer of feeding on krill in Antarctic waters.

The whales migrate north to sub-tropical waters, near the Great Barrier Reef, where they give birth.

From September – November they migrate back to the Antarctic.

Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive with the spectacular acrobatic displays of humpback whales during their annual migration of up to 10,000 kilometres.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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