Draft North Coast Regional Plan now open for public comment

Tweed Heads is set to be recognised as a regional city for the first time, under a proposal announced this week by NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes.

Mr Stokes was visiting the Tweed on Wednesday to launch the draft North Coast Regional Plan, which is now on exhibition and open for comment from the public until 2 June 2016.

The draft Plan will guide strategic planning across the North Coast over the next 20 years, covering the council areas of Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Greater Taree, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley and Tweed.

“I am pleased to announce the draft Plan will recognise Tweed Heads as a regional city, recognising its place on the North Coast and in the State,” Mr Stokes said.

“This draft Plan sets out a vision for the North Coast over the next two decades to help vibrant and sustainable communities flourish now and into the future.”

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, welcomed the Minister and the opportunity for Tweed residents to have their say on the future of the region.

“Tweed has evolved as the regional centre in the Northern Rivers and as such, requires the necessary infrastructure, services and the corresponding employment opportunities to support this significant population centre – the plan rightly recognises this,” Councillor Milne said.

“I welcome the direction of the regional plan to contain growth to this key strategic area. This sits well with the first goal of good planning to have sustainable, productive and vibrant centres, and to protect the natural environment, agriculture and heritage values.

“Concentrating future population in our regional town centre of Tweed Heads will help to preserve what we love about our Shire, being our amazing flora and fauna, our stunning landscapes and the relaxed lifestyle of our coastal and rural villages.

“I encourage everyone to take a look at the plan and think about how we can ensure this great place has the most sustainable planning possible.

“Our Council will be studying the details of the plan and will also make a submission,” Councillor Milne said

The draft plan also recognises Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie as regional cities.

“The NSW Government’s vision is that the regional cities continue to be the focus for jobs growth, supported by liveable, high-quality residential development and a range of higher-order cultural and civic services. Tweed Heads, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie will continue to serve not only local communities, but also the residents of the broader region.” the draft plan states.

The draft plan can be viewed at www.planning.nsw.gov.au/northcoast. Submissions close on 2 June 2016.