Do what’s right for Kingscliff

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS | OPINION -

AN 85-YEAR at­tach­ment to Kingscliff plus lo­cal events have sparked re­flec­tion.

In 1980 Bill and I moved per­ma­nently to Kingscliff, un­aware of Tweed coun­cil­lors’ de­ci­sion to dis­re­gard directives re­gard­ing coastal devel­op­ment is­sued by the De­part­ments of Plan­ning and of Pub­lic Works.

Not too long af­ter we’d set­tled in, two surfers had dropped a pam­phlet in our let­ter­box urg­ing res­i­dents to at­tend a pub­lic meet­ing to ob­ject to high-rise pro­pos­als in Kingscliff.

We be­came core mem­bers of the newly-formed Kingscliff Res­i­dent Ac­tion Group.

KRAG set prin­ci­ples that were adopted by com­mu­nity groups and their can­di­dates across the Shire: con­sid­ered, ob­jec­tive, leg­is­la­tion-based as­sess­ment of pro­pos­als and fac­tual pre­sen­ta­tion of in­for­ma­tion.

Fol­low­ing res­i­dent groups, coun­cil­lors and com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tions con­tin­ued to hold to KRAG prin­ci­ples, ini­ti­ated dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tions by Plan­ning and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment De­part­ments and con­trib­uted to the Da­ley In­quiry and the coun­cil’s dis­missal.

It was an ap­proach that should have con­tin­ued when the coun­cil re­con­vened in 2008 with newly-ap­pointed staff cho­sen for their high pro­fes­sional skills. But this didn’t hap­pen.

Mem­o­ries of ac­tions by large devel­op­ment en­ti­ties that re­lied on ma­nip­u­la­tion of plan­ning leg­is­la­tion and sup­port from like-minded coun­cil­lors had been stirred when Leighton Hold­ings be­came the pre­ferred de­vel­oper of the gov­ern­ment-planned tourism devel­op­ment on Lot 490. Pe­ti­tion­ing had been cho­sen as the tool to give quick voice to ob­jec­tions.

Ramped-up pe­ti­tion­ing, how­ever, has brought grow­ing dis­re­gard for the prin­ci­ples for­mu­lated to en­sure hon­est de­ci­sion­mak­ing. There’s been de­lib­er­ate ma­nip­u­la­tion of the past to foster nostalgia and fear of change, and to reignite old grudges.

The com­mu­nity has been tricked into be­liev­ing res­i­dents’ “wants” should take prece­dence over pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise and real needs.

Per­sonal ag­gran­dis­e­ment has been pur­sued by too many, “bovver boys” have stirred dis­sent and cre­ated spec­ta­cles that have played on the need of in­di­vid­u­als to fill per­sonal empty spa­ces.

Grubby po­lit­i­cal acts have added a nasty edge.

De­cency, in­tegrity and hu­man­ity are val­ues aban­doned by too many. Kingscliff is the poorer.

— Bar­bara Fitzgib­bon, Kingscliff

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

LOOK­ING FOR­WARD: Kingscliff is for­ever chang­ing.

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