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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Skennars plan a ‘slap in the face’ for council

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Chris Dobney

Ballina councillor Jeff Johnson says the development of a parcel of land near Skennars Head will represent a ‘new low’ in coastal development if it is allowed to go ahead by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP).

NSW planning minister Brad Hazzard stripped Ballina Shire Council of its planning powers over the development of Skennars Head Coastal Village, formerly known as Stewart’s Farm, in October last year, handing them to the JRPP.

‘This is a slap in the face to our local community and Council staff who have been working on this matter for a number of years,’ said Ballina Cr Jeff Johnson.

The developers’ plan, which came off exhibition on Monday, would allow for 500 house blocks, with land parcel sizes reduced to 450 square metres, compared with the standard minimum size of 600 square metres in other parts of Skennars Head.

It also excises two large blocks of land east of The Coast Road from the development, effectively conferring on them entitlements for two houses.

Part of the coastal land is leased to Ballina Shire Council for use as a carpark and lookout, while the substantial remaining portion is currently undeveloped.

The JRPP is remaining tight-lipped over the development, and yesterday declined to reply to a list of questions submitted by Echonetdaily.

They responded instead with a prepared statement, noting that the exhibition period had closed and stating, ‘the regional panel will assess the planning proposal and all public submissions before making a recommendation to the minister. As part of this process a public meeting may be held, the date and time of which is yet to be decided.’

‘The JRPP appears to be gifting the developers additional blocks by reducing the minimum lot size,’ said Cr Jeff Johnson.

‘The land east of The Coast Road should be incorporated into the Ballina Coastal Reserve so that our community can enjoy it for generations to come,’ he added.

‘A sticking point for the council in its deliberations was the dedication of this coastal land to the community.’


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  1. This is another example of the vast majority of Australians being dispossessed of their right to decide how land is used by land ownership laws dating back to Feudal England. Many families, especially in NSW, have inherited large parcels of land (mainly for farming) which were previously stolen from Aborigines by force of arms in the 19th Century and given out to squatters and English aristocracy, in some cases even freed convicts, by the then Colonial Government of the Colony of NSW. Although Title has often been held in these families’ names for generations, it needs to be recognised that this “land” never really belonged to anyone, but has been passed from group to group over many generations. I am not saying existing ‘land owners’ should not have some right of compensation but anyone with enough land for 500 houses clearly is not using that land for farming anymore and title should revert to the local community to decide how they want to utilise this parcel of our shared Earth. Both with Land Use and Mining Rights; the neolithic State Governments are perpetuating a system of land corruption where the rich get much richer and the vast majority of citizens get to work their whole lives to pay off a bank mortgage (the Right to own a Bank and print money being another Feudal Oligarchy inherited from the English Court system). It is time Australians took back their land rights. In one of the most sparsely settled countries in the world, we suffer among the highest land housing costs…..Go Figure!

  2. Well said Eddy!! I am a rate payer in G’bah & while I am familiar with the coast I am praying that the to be developed land is NOT Skennars Headland & the adjacent Boulder beach area!!!!!! how gross would that be, to confiscate land that deserves to remain public for all.

    I missed the D.A process as I live out of area, but I am mortified about what is potentially happening—& isnt the rest of Lennox Head feeling the same..?? Lennox is my Fave place on all of the coast & its pretty kool just the way it is…


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