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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Koala tree removal

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Dear Byron Shire Councillors,

In light of recent events on Broken Head Road, it would seem Byron Shire Council officers are determined to covertly remove as much of the shire’s valuable vegetation as they possibly can.

The reason for this assertion? Read on.

This week I became aware my neighbour at 11 Grand Valley Court (Lot 20) had applied to have seven or eight large eucalyptus trees on his property removed. On ringing Council yesterday I was made aware that neighbours are not notified of tree removal applications and that approval had already been granted. Apparently, according to whichever Act applies in this case, Council is not obliged to notify neighbours. This retreat to the Act was made very clear to me in the conversation and the officer’s attitude seemed to be ‘tough luck’.

The problem is that these trees are known to be part of the local koala habitat. I have seen and heard koalas in these trees, as have other neighbours. The question is, therefore, whether Council’s officers were aware (or made aware) of this situation when making their determination. If they were aware of the koala habitat in the vicinity of Tristran Parade and Grand Valley Court then clearly they have been totally derelict in their duty by granting the approval. If they were not aware then the proper questions should have been asked, reports reviewed or expert consultant reports required.

This is an appalling situation that should not have arisen. I would hope this e-mail will prompt some positive action from councillors. Rescission of the approval would be the best outcome.

At worst Council and its officers will retreat to the tired old excuse that due process has been followed and the law will not allow any further action. This would be a most unfortunate conclusion to an episode that smacks either of incompetence or a simple lack of care.

David Brown, Mullumbimby Creek

 


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