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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

A skewed new planning system

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We don’t know how many of the 6,000 ‘people’ met by the planning department were developers or their lobbyists or how many of the 4,500 submissions yet to be processed are from similar sources.

If this consultation process is like the North Byron Parklands development approval, where over 80 per cent of the local community raised objections but were overruled by submissions from anywhere and as far away as the UK and Western Australia, and from festival fans who fell for the ‘Bring Splendour Back to Byron/ Home’ story, then it’s a sham.

So much for putting the community at the centre of the planning system.

Granted, there was consultation and a two-day Planning Assessment Commission meeting to hear our concerns. The PAC put many restrictions and clauses in the final approval that the community is thankful for.

Parklands to their credit are working hard to fulfill their obligations; however, the fact remains that the local community did not and does not want such a development in a quiet rural and environmentally sensitive area when it should be in Byron Bay, where there is the infrastructure to cope with the vast numbers of young people wishing to have some fun.

I would like to thank all the community members who are working tirelessly to make sure that the impact on residents and the environment is minimal by closely consulting with all the government agencies who are charged with making sure this private commercial venture is a success.

The ‘new’ planning system will, as usual, be skewed to the noisy, powerful developer lobby who can tick the ‘cost benefit to NSW’ and ‘employment numbers’ boxes.

Heritage assets will be adulterated or bulldozed if they are in an area zoned for development, with no avenue for protection because of the ‘one size fits all’ and ‘cutting red tape’ mantra used to simplify planning for developers and the department.

Every inch of NSW should be treated individually and should not be bundled up and approved for development with no recourse from local communities and interested parties once the new planning system is legislated.

It will be interesting to see who does benefit from the lengthy consultation process where community is at the centre surrounded by litigious, well-funded developers and a developer-compliant government.


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