Homes plan to stress Tweed region/Gold 24 December 2011

WHILE sprawling housing plans for Kings Forest and Cobaki have sparked protest, two other major projects set to bring almost 10,000 extra people to the Tweed have flown under the radar.

Metricon’s Area E at Terranora and Mantle Group’s The Rise at Bilambil will have a combined 3300 homes built over 10 years, putting more pressure on roads, hospitals and police.

The infrastructure is already expected to be stretched by the Kings Forest and Cobaki developments. Conservationists have rallied against those two Leda Group projects set to have 10,000 dwellings.

However, documents on Area E reveal it will have about 1800 homes for about 4000 people across 300ha. While mostly residential, the development will include a village centre precinct with commercial space.

The Rise, a $1.4 billion project at Bilambil Heights, will have more than 1600 homes for 3500 people as well as a 200-bed aged care facility.

A private school, commercial and retail outlets and an arts college and arts precinct have also been planned.

The developer, Mantle Group headed by Godfrey Mantle, has sat on the site since it received NSW Government approval in July 2010.

Both projects have master planned approval, while stage one of Area E was given the green light by Tweed Shire Council earlier this year, but it will also require council approval for future stages to go ahead.

Tweed Mayor Barry Longland said yesterday it was difficult for the city to keep pace with demand for roads.

Cr Longland said the two projects had managed to avoid the same level of public concern faced by Kings Forest and Cobaki because they were first mooted in 2004 and they received a lot of attention then.

He pointed the finger at developer contributions, used to pay for roads and other infrastructure, which often did not come in until properties started to sell.

“There are big challenges confronting the council,” he said.

“We get development contributions, but they don’t usually flow until lots are divided and housing is selling.

“If this infrastructure isn’t forthcoming these developments won’t be attractive.”

He said approval on future stages of Area E and The Rise could depend on long-awaited upgrades to Kennedy Drive and Boyd Street.

Tweed Heads Chamber of Commerce president Rory Curtis said it was essential to upgrade the western link of Kirkwood Rd before new developments went in near Terranora.

“The approval for Area E will put more pressure on the council and State Government to fast-track the western link,” he said.

“It will be a nightmare if it’s not done.”

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