Leda calls for inquiry
THE row between the biggest developer in the Tweed and the council has heated up with Leda Developments saying an independent inquiry into the council may be necessary.
The dispute escalated yesterday after mayor Barry Longland accused Leda of sidestepping proper planning processes and said Leda customers who buy land in Cobaki Lakes should be warned about aircraft noise.
His comments came after Leda last Friday delivered a second dossier alleging anti-development bias from council staff.
Councillors talked about allegations in the second dossier, which focused on Leda's proposed Cobaki Lakes township as well as an earlier dossier dealing with its Kings Forest development, at a closed workshop session on Tuesday.
Yesterday Leda's regional manager suggested an inquiry might be needed.
"Regrettably, the mayor's statement avoids the fundamental issue which Leda's reports have been about. We shall have to see what the views of council as a whole are," he said.
"Whether the council is capable of properly investigating itself, however, also remains to be seen.
"An independent inquiry into the deficiencies exposed by Leda may be necessary."
Mr van Rij said Leda's intentions in compiling the two dossiers was simple.
"There must be a development assessment process by council's planning officers that is unbiased, professional and properly reported to councillors - nothing more, nothing less," he said.
Cr Longland said the latest dossier undermined Leda's intention, as it was conveyed to him, "to work together towards achieving a constructive relationship".
"When councillors met following the first report, there was unanimous agreement that we were committed to the restoration of a relationship that clearly was dysfunctional," he said.
"However with the issue of this latest report, I can't see that Leda are being serious."
Cr Longland said the report was "patronising and misdirected" in asserting councillors were not aware a submission sent to the NSW Department of Planning suggested warnings about aircraft noise,
"Having received advice from the Gold Coast Airport that future Cobaki residents should be routinely advised of the impact of aircraft noise on their amenity, councillors had a responsibility to advocate for such a condition on this development," he said.
"What were we supposed to do? Keep that a secret from future residents?"