Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay
I was shocked to hear that Byron Shire Council has once again sidelined this community by endorsing a new residential and commercial development at Ewingsdale to be handed over to the minister for planning to determine whether it proceeds.
The proposal is to develop 15 hectares of mostly regionally significant farmland fronting Ewingsdale Road for 170 dwellings (on 250m2 lots), a 65-place residential aged care facility, medical centre, supermarket and shopping centre.
This proposed development is contrary to the 1998 Byron Rural Residential Strategy, 2002 Byron Bay, Suffolk Park and Ewingsdale Settlement Strategy, 2007 Far North Coast Regional Strategy, 2008 Byron Shire Local Environmental Study, and the current draft Local Environmental Plan.
Residential and commercial development of this land has repeatedly been rejected by the community. This specific proposal has also been rejected before. When it went to the previous Council on 10 February 2011 they resolved that the proposal should be considered in the Local Growth Management Strategy.
The 2007 Far North Coast Regional Strategy requires that Council prepare a Local Growth Management Strategy to identify how to implement a dwelling target for Byron Shire of 2,600 dwellings until 2031.
It is in the preparation of a Local Growth Management Strategy that the community is meant to be given a chance to have a say on the location and type of development it wants.
Back in 2008 Council also rejected the original rezoning proposal by the West Byron Landowners Group, in part because a ‘Local growth management Strategy for the Shire has not been prepared’.
We have still not been given a say on the promised strategy and yet the development of West Byron, and now Ewingsdale, seems a fait accompli. We just have to wait for the minister to tell us how big these developments will be.
The ALP and Nationals have shown that they are happy to sideline the community, now it is evident that the Greens also have no real commitment to strategic planning or grassroots democracy.