Friday, July 19, 2024

Tweed flood land swap project progresses

In what Tweed Shire Council says is a major milestone for the region’s flood recovery, preliminary works have begun this week at the Industry Central Land Swap project in South Murwillumbah.

The innovative project aims to assist selected businesses in the high flood risk zone of South Murwillumbah to relocate to flood-free land at Lundberg Drive (Industry Central) via a land swap agreement.

Six successful applicants, including Council’s work depot, will be relocating following an expression of interest process.

Council has acquired 14 ha of suitable flood-free and appropriately zoned land at Lundberg Drive, South Murwillumbah and will develop this into new employment land thanks to $11.3 million in funding from the NSW Government.

Lismore MP, Janelle Saffin, who was recently appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery and whose electorate includes Murwillumbah, welcomed the start of construction works.

“This industrial land-swap is both a practical and creative solution to securing Murwillumbah’s long-term future as we recover from a catastrophic sequence of flood events over the past few years,” Ms Saffin said.

“The climate is changing and improving our flood preparedness by moving businesses and homes off floodplains is now of paramount importance – we know from lessons hard learned that ‘better prepared brings better recovery’.

“It’s great to see this development breaking ground and I congratulate all those involved.”

Alder Constructions was awarded the contract to undertake the design and construction of all public infrastructure at the site, including roads, stormwater, reticulated sewer, water supply and telecommunications.

Alder Constructions CEO, Dean Cheffers confirmed earthworks started this week at the South Murwillumbah site, following certificate approval of the subdivision works.

“With the site now mobilised and earthworks underway, the innovative plan is one step closer to coming to fruition,” Mr Cheffers said.

“There will be lots of activity on site over the next few months with full site earthworks, sewer, stormwater and service installation, along with roadworks construction commencing this side of Christmas.”

Tweed Shire Council General Manager, Troy Green welcomed the commencement of earthworks as a significant step forward in building resilience into the Tweed economy.

“We all know the devastating impact the floods of 2017 and 2022 had on all aspects of our community and businesses,” Mr Green said.

“This project will provide evidence that businesses can invest with confidence in the Tweed and is a strong sign that Council is looking at ways to adapt to the impact of climate change by providing flood-risk free, employment-generating land.”

Initiated after the devastating flood of March 2017, Mr Green said the project had progressed well until early 2020 when the onset of COVID-19 caused significant uncertainty among the business community and delayed the project. This was further exacerbated by the 2022 flood and subsequent inflationary pressures.

“To our knowledge, an industrial land swap such as this has never been undertaken in Australia and it has proved to be an extremely complex legal and planning process – but we are excited to finally be on site today with the first earthworks underway,” he said.

“We can’t wait for the subdivision to be completed and for our first businesses to move their facilities over to this new flood-free zone.”

Following an Expression of Interest process, five Murwillumbah businesses were selected to participate in the land swap, which will see them swap their flood-prone land for flood-free land in the new industrial estate known in South Murwillumbah known as Industry Central.

The five businesses confirmed to participate in the land swap include JH Williams Pty Ltd, 30 Marine Parade Pty Ltd, North Commercial Pty Ltd (Hayes Steel), Murwillumbah Hire and Landscape Supplies and Mick Bourke Transport.

Two lots remain available to interested businesses, with a new EOI process expected in due course.

Construction works are expected to be completed by mid-2024, with creation of title for the new allotments and settlement of contacts planned to occur by December 2024.

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