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Byron Shire
March 3, 2024


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On Wallum

We seem to rely way too much on Byron Council and councillors to have the knowledge or expertise in...

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Four killed in Wardell crash

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Smith MP urges planning minister to call in Wallum

Yesterday the media gathered at the proposed Wallum development at Brunswick Heads as Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina, held a conference to urge the NSW planning minister to refer the development the federal environment minister.

Defacing artworks

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Tintenbar-East Ballina face tough test to make LJ Hooker cricket finals

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Bangalow rezoning proposal includes first affordable housing lot for Council 

A scheme created by Byron Council in a bid to generate more affordable housing in the shire looks set to get its first workout when a housing project comes before this week’s Council meeting.

Water course

Richmond Valley Council (RVC) also gets some of its water supply from Rous with supplements from the Richmond River and a bore near Woodburn, a fact not mentioned in Phil Silver’s comment on water supply for the region (No Dunoon Dam: Water Chief 3 Nov).

Sadly Richmond Valley Council, like other councils in the region, does not harvest water from its sewage treatment plants (STP), even though it promised to do so and the technology’s available.

The Woodburn-Evans Head Golf Club spent heaps of grant money on a system for dual reticulation of water from the Evans Head STP on a council promise that it would put in dual pipeline while connecting up Woodburn to the Evans Head plant.

But RVC failed to lay the pipe, without public explanation, even though it would have been a cheap and sensible option and a big help to deal with the perennial effluent disposal problem that has plagued Evans Head for years.

Council is planning to dump the effluent into the Evans River instead, a ‘no-no’ in terms of its impact on the river and the surfing beach, an impact demonstrated by the local community’s water group years ago.

This is the same council that dumped partially treated effluent containing tonnes of nitrogen and phosphorus (read: fertiliser) into Salty Lakes in Broadwater National Park, and still continues to do so with terrible consequences for the lake system.

The Environment Pollution Authority, sorry Protection Authority, sits on its hands and goes along with ridiculous proposals put to it by Council when there are obvious community-supported and scientifically-based proposals begging to be implemented.  Time for the EPA to lead rather than follow.

The millions of dollars Council’s spent fluffing around with outrageous deep-well injection, irrigation of effluent on our aerodrome with damaging consequences for the local environment and heritage infrastructure, and ocean outfall proposals could have been spent on effective dual reticulation and water harvesting.

Council might claim a ‘yuk factor’ in all of this but it’s drawing water from the river at Casino which contains effluent from Kyogle, so clearly there’s no problem.  The public just doesn’t know.

Despite the clearly demonstrated benefits of ‘demand management’ there comes a point where you can cut no more.   Before we get there we need to ask hard questions about the ‘carrying capacity’ of the land and look at limits to unfettered growth.  Do we have too many sheep on the paddock already? Earlier planning documentation A region of villages shows we are past the carrying capacity of the land on the Far North Coast.  The Rous and public narrative regarding water needs to shift to this bigger picture question.

Yours sincerely

Dr Richard Gates


Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Committee Inc

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