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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Make developers pay their dues

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During the noughties developers pushed against local community wishes and eventually gained approval to subdivide a few rural properties around Main Arm village into ‘Rural Residential’ lots. One major objection to the developments was and is that you can’t get out of Main Arm without crossing one or more causeways.

The worst of these is where Main Arm Road crosses Blindmouth Creek. It’s a low-level single-lane causeway with a blind corner on the southern approach. And you arrive at the site after legally doing up to 100km/h most of the way from Mullumbimby (if the potholes allow). A woman drowned after being washed off that crossing in 2008.

A condition of consent on these developments says they don’t happen till the crossing is upgraded, in height and width. Seems about right to me.

One of the developers is keen to go but doesn’t want to do the upgrade single-handed. They want the condition deleted from the consent. They applied (Section 96 application) to delete it and then waited for a year as another developer chatted with Council about going it alone on the upgrade. That scheme got shelved so the S96 finally came before Council last week. It was refused 6 to 3 – many thanks, councillors, except Tucker, Heeson and Woods.

In the meantime, the same developer has lodged a new S96 to delete the same condition. This may seem like a waste of everybody’s time (and of Council’s resources) but makes sense under NSW planning laws: apparently no appeal was possible because the first S96 got too old but will be possible for this new duplicate.

Readers, please lodge submissions against S96 Application number 10.2008.159.3 (the Davis DA). It’s on exhibition and submissions must reach Byron Shire Council by 2 July.

Personally, I don’t want to be killed by the extra traffic coming round the blind corner. Let’s make the crossing safe before increasing the traffic.

The works may cost most of $1 million. This DA must already pay about a third of that as its Section 94 DA contribution (which is tied to upgrading the crossing). The other two-thirds would be about the cost of two or three of the 22 lots approved on that property. Four are already sold. Why can’t this developer build the crossing and be content with just 19 or 20 lots as profit?

The condition should remain.

Duncan Dey, Palmwoods

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