MORE than 500 people crammed into Victory Park at Cabarita Beach yesterday to protest the construction of a caravan park and residential estate on beachfront land at south beach Cabarita.
The controversial project planned by Tweed Shire Council and NSW Crown Lands would see a 230-site caravan park and 37-lot residential estate built on land they claim is environmentally sensitive.
Speaker for the Cabarita Residents association Ashley Baldry said the project was "massive" and would require bulldozers that would leave "not one tree left standing."
"It's the wrong plan in the wrong place," he told the Daily News.
"The plan is outrageous and is opposed by the vast majority of residents, yet there has been no acknowledgment or recognition of the community's objection to it.
"That's why we are here today.
"We feel it should end right here, right now."
Local MP Geoff Provest did not attend the rally but sent his support, saying he would stand up for residents in Parliament.
Mr Provest said the devel- opment was "excessive" and would have a "negative influence if it proceeds".
Resident Tim Smerd said he was not opposed to de- velopment per se.
"This project is impractical and in the wrong place," Mr Smerd said.
"I, like many other residents and visitors, have spent many years walking and surfing at south beach.
"The general consensus is that the unique environment at south beach should be protected and not de- stroyed."
Indigenous resident Sue Follent said the area was of cultural significance to her people, with middens in the area that are thousands of years old.
"Council is going about this project in the wrong way," Ms Follent said.
"The cultural history is precious and I feel very strongly about the possibility of its destruction."
President of the Cabarita Residents Association Neil Moores said he was pleased with the turn-out.
"This rally is about the future of our village and it's important to give a face to community opposition to the plan," Mr Moores said.