Byron Residents’ Group has exhausted all possibilities for legal recourse in having the West
Byron rezoning overturned, but our commitment to protect Byron Bay is not exhausted.
We sought legal advice from three highly qualified barristers, all of whom advised that we
had limited prospects of a successful legal challenge.
The overarching powers the minister has at her discretion mean there is no capacity to
legally oppose the merits of her decision – she can create traffic chaos, kill koalas and
generate acidic runoff into our estuary without challenge.
Our only avenue for a legal challenge was whether the minister properly followed required
procedures, but since so little due diligence was required by this development there was not
much to go on.
Despite the development now being at least double the number of houses publicised by the
proponents there is no legal recourse.
Despite massive community opposition, an unscientific report on koalas on the site, an inadequate study of the acid sulfate soils, and a traffic study that is seriously flawed, this development is able to go ahead unchallenged.
A major pledge of the Liberal-National Party before the 2011 election was to return planning
decisions to local communities. Instead they have chosen to excise West Byron from all the
requirements of our Local Environment Plan and instead insert a bit of western Sydney into
Byron Bay with high-density suburbia.
The government effectively cut the community out of the process and ignored all the
concerns we raised.
To add insult to injury the government has now prepared their own Development Control
Plan for the site which will determine what can go on the site.
They refuse to exhibit it so that the community can have a say. It is still not too late to do as they said they were going to do and hand the DCP back to the decisions about the West Byron DCP back to the community.
We are down but not out. The community has one last chance to stand up for our rights
and demand that all candidates in the upcoming state election commit to return planning
decisions to the local community.
A concert/rally to ‘reject the overdevelopment of Byron Bay will be held on Sunday, 1 March, meeting at 3.30pm at at Railway Park followed by a march to Apex Park.
Cate Coorey, Byron Residents Group