Updated 11am: A meeting between Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) bureaucrats and Byron Shire councillors to discuss the department’s preferred development control plan (DCP) for the West Byron development has been postponed due to the region’s weather emergency.
A planned protest by Byron Residents Group (BRG) and the NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC) outside Byron council chambers in Mullumbimby will also not now go ahead.
But a BRG spokesperson has described the move ‘as an effort to foist an appalling DCP for West Byron on us before the election.
Cate Coorey described the DoPE plan as ‘poorly thought out and deliberately vague’.
She said that usually DCPs are exhibited publicly for community input but that ‘as with the rezoning, we are being shut out from the DCP process’.
‘A DCP should be a council’s essential tool for ensuring orderly development of zoned land.
‘This one is a political tool to again over-ride council’s rules and pander to developers – and the majority on this Council is letting it happen.
Since former Greens councillor, real estate agent Rose Wanchap, defected over the issue the pro-development group now has control of the council.
Ms Coorey said that while the department had used ‘feel-good buzzwords’ to describe the West Byron plan but the community had serious concerns about the lack of adequate amenities.
‘This suburb is to be bigger than Mullumbimby but there is no requirement for the provision of the kind of social infrastructure commensurate with a suburb of that size,’ Ms Coorey said.
‘They are creating a soulless suburbia with minimum human services to ensure maximum yield from as many lots as possible,’ she added.
She queried why there was no provision in for ‘childcare centres, schools, a post office, affordable housing, or even recreation facilities and adequate useable open space?’
‘There is no innovative design or infrastructure such as passive solar lot layout, integrated water management plans, energy management plans or community gardens.’
She said it would be ‘the only large development in Byron Shire that doesn’t have a Tree Preservation Order, does not need to comply with the development standards for Flood Liable Lands, management plans for Acid Sulfate Soils, drainage works, site filling, native vegetation, wildlife corridors, or threatened species.
the developer’s own reports identified the need for mitigation measures for impacts on koalas, the nationally threatened wallum sedge frogs, wallum froglets and blossom bats.
‘There is no real staging plan for this development – it must be staged to minimise impacts on Byron.
‘There is so much that is missing from this DCP and now is the time to put these essential elements in or lose the opportunity forever – it will not happen through the good will of DoPE or the developers.