POWER GROUP:  Cr Reece Byrnes, Mayor Katie Milne, Cr Ron Cooper and Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry.
POWER GROUP: Cr Reece Byrnes, Mayor Katie Milne, Cr Ron Cooper and Deputy Mayor Chris Cherry. Contributed

Working within council 'ridiculously difficult' - councillor

TWEED Shire councillors outside the "Rainbow Four" have expressed concerns over the council's balance of power and claim it treats developers as "natural predators".

The Rainbow Four, which is made up of Mayor Katie Milne, Reece Byrnes, Chris Cherry and Ron Cooper, regularly win council motions with a 4-3 vote over pro-development councillors James Owen, Pryce Allsop and Warren Polglase.

Cr Allsopp told the Tweed Daily News working with council was "ridiculously difficult" and the 4-3 vote was keeping investors out of the region.

"It is scary for people to come to the Tweed with our council, they see developers as a natural predator, it's like they want to attack our region but usually they want to better it," he said.

"We have the very same people stopping these development applications saying we have a homeless crisis, yet here they are stopping everything.

"This 4-3 thing really has to stop".

Cr Warren Polglase said "political philosophies have taken over what we should be doing in council".

"It's just one of those things, it's politics, there's four of them and three of us and their political philosophies are a little different," he said.

"The Tweed is struggling to create opportunities and council is responsible to fix that and at its present state isn't achieving those aims.

"This council has been more difficult to create opportunities and outcomes than the last five councils I've been involved in."

Cr Polglase said a motion passed at the last council meeting to quadruple funding for an affordable houses concept plan to $88,500 was a "waste of money" which would "never be looked at" by the Federal Government.

But Mayor Katie Milne said she thought the criticism was "unfair".

"I haven't heard that at all, businesses are really keen to come to the Tweed, they see it as a beautiful area to invest in and most people, residents, businesses, they love the lifestyle," she said.

"I understand we have one of the highest record of development applications that council has ever had and I haven't had any developers screaming blue murder at me that you're making it too hard.

"If you look at the record of applications that come to council, that doesn't reflect that, there are very few that councillors refuse when it comes to business."

Cr Milne said there was no doubt development applications were "complex" but they "reflect the circumstances of the Tweed".

"We're one of the highest flooding areas in the state, we have the highest numbers of threatened species in Australia and have a lot of bushland as well, that does bring with it the need for very special consideration.

"We want businesses to come to the Tweed."

Cr Chris Cherry said she believed the councillor's claims "doesn't reflect what's actually occurring".

"This last week we had 50 development applications, that's more than ever before, I think people do have confidence and I think there's a very supportive council in there at the moment," she said.

"If people want to do things outside what's allowable, they're going to be challenged and I make no apology for that."

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