12.6 C
Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Byron fights van-parks’ land grab

Latest News

All fired up: former magistrate fumes at news of the world

How does one react to news of environmental vandalism, rampant domestic violence and mutilation of women without anger or distress?

Other News

Lismore City Council declares housing emergency, wants more units

A Lismore City Council housing survey had shown more than 60 per cent of residents were living by themselves or with one other person, Cr Ekins said, prompting ‘a real need for smaller housing or units’.

War The Bloody Hell Are You?

When faced with potential conflict, why are we abandoning the strategy that’s worked in the past for one that will definitely fail?

Exotic and hybrid

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay I was shocked to see the abundant exotic and hybrid plantings at Byron’s new bus interchange. As...

A hands up poll

Helena Norberg-Hodge and John Page, Byron Bay Hands up everyone who wants another high-end tourist resort in Byron: a place...

Remembering Bentley

Saturday 15 May is the seventh anniversary of Victory Day at the historic Bentley Blockade, just west of Lismore.

Interview with Mell and Zara from the Byron Comedy Fest

After a year under a COVID-19 hiatus, The Byron Comedy Fest is back! Next Thursday sees this fledgling event open the doors to its second weekend presenting all that is fabulous and funny. Set on the Byron beachfront at the Byron Surf Club and styled as a classy bespoke beachside speakeasy, this event is the creative lovechild of besties Zara Noruzi and Mell Coppin.

Luis Feliu

Byron Shire Council is sticking to its guns in its fight against a land grab by the state-run managers of Brunswick Heads’ three Crown reserve caravan parks in the face of locals’ fears the parks could be leased to private operators in the future.

But in a conciliatory move last Thursday, Council has paved the way for the mostly elderly long-term residents of cabins illegally encroaching on the foreshore to be relocated over time so as not to greatly impact on them.

Around 14 permanent residents of The Terrace Caravan Park are affected by Council’s new licensing conditions for the parks, which aim to maintain a three-metre foreshore buffer for public access right along the foreshore.

The North Coast Accommodation Trust (NCAT), which administers the public parks, is refusing to accept Council’s new licensing conditions, claiming they had not been consulted and would lose some cabin sites at The Terrace, Massey Greene and Ferry Reserve caravan parks.

But the parks, which already take up the bulk of the village’s public foreshore land, have expanded over the years with illegal foreshore and road-reserve encroachments.

The Ferry Reserve caravan park’s size has been substantially increased with old Pacific Highway land and the old Fins restaurant building included in its new boundaries.

The row erupted recently when NCAT used barricades to close off Riverside Crescent at Ferry Reserve, enraging locals who said it blocked access to a public boat ramp.

The locals took ‘direct action’ in protest and removed the large barricades and dumped them outside council chambers in Mullumbimby.

At Council’s meeting last Thursday, Foreshore Protection Group (FPG) spokesperson Patricia Warren urged councillors to ensure public foreshore access along the Brunswick River and its tributary Simpsons Creek was kept outside the operational area of the caravan parks.

Certainty

Ms Warren said this would give ‘some certainty that in the event of the long-term commercial leasing of the parks access along the foreshore is retained for public use’.

She said there was widespread community support for the proposed caravan park boundaries in Council’s licence-renewal agreement with NCAT.

The longstanding issues over the boundaries, setbacks and non-compliance were addressed by Council in August with the proposed new licence renewals after 15 years of talks between council and park management and Brunswick Heads residents.

Ms Warren told a packed council chambers that NCAT could now not take the position ‘that it was merely “formalising” existing arrangements as though there has not been consistent opposition’.

‘The concerns of the permanent (park) residents will be addressed in the forthcoming plans of management where lobbying will continue to retain 30 per cent of sites for permanents.

‘We are aware that NCAT will, with Council’s licensing conditions, lose income-generating sites. But the affected sites are either/or on illegally encroached lands, in violation of legislative setbacks, or operating in violation of conventional licensing conditions.

‘What has been deliberately omitted by NCAT is that even after satisfying Council’s licensing conditions, the operators will have, because of compulsory acquisitions and land transfers to the Crown reserves, the opportunity to expand its future operational areas.

‘Thus, the notion of the economic viability of the caravan parks is a feign threat that deserves to be put aside.

Mrs Warren made a number of suggestions for amendments to the licensing conditions in order to help NCAT ‘overcome some of its non-compliance problems’, some of which Council took on board.

Mayor Simon Richardson succeed in his move reaffirming the August resolution and licence conditions.

‘Both residents and staff are clear about where we need to be. Our obligation is to create boundaries and licence conditions,’ he told councillors.

Unimpeded

‘The foreshore area of each park must remain in public hands for unimpeded public access,’ Cr Richardson said.

The motion allows for the relocation of vans and mobile homes on the offending foreshore sites to be ‘planned now but executed as and when the long-term permanent resident vacates or chooses to relocate to an alternative suitable site within the park (ie residents personally occupying a permanent site as of park handover date in 2007 should remain undisturbed and their structure be relocated on their leaving the site, or before if the resident so asks, at park expense)’.

The motion also calls on NCAT and the Division of Local Government to defer development within the foreshore parklands (public reserves) at the Terrace and Banner Park, pending further talks with stakeholders.

FPG spokesperson Michele Grant praised Council, saying, ‘Why is it so hard to move mobile dwellings in a caravan park?’

‘There is clearly room as over 10 permanent sites have been vacated and NCAT is now leasing foreshore vans on a short-term basis,’ Ms Grant said.

‘A quick tour of the Terrace Park confirms the appalling state of riverbank with some vans/verandahs about to topple into the river.

‘It’s time NCAT dealt with their high-risk occupational health and safety problems instead of bleating about lost revenue.’


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Business calls for Tweed train tracks to be kept ignored

More than 800 people had signed a petition calling for a new rail trail to be built next to, rather than in place of, the existing disused railway line running through the shire.

Resilient communities training on offer

‘Resilience’ has become a buzzword in Australia over the past few years, as communities across the country struggle to cope with fire, floods, and a pandemic.

Independent councillor fact-checks housing supply in the Byron Shire

Independent Byron Shire Councillor Cate Coorey won approval from fellow councillors last week for a new reporting regime she says will offer clarification on dwellings approved in the shire.

How to exercise more voting rights in council elections

Being a property owner in NSW isn’t just a financial advantage, it also means you have more rights to vote than non-property owners.