A dispute over ‘alarmingly incorrect information’ in an online petition over the West Byron development has erupted and follows the first meeting of the newly formed Byron Residents’ Group last Thursday.
Stuart Murray of the West Byron Project said in statement that while he ‘welcomed a rigorous debate’, the change.org petition, spearheaded by the group’s Catherine Coorey, ‘contains more than ten inaccurate or incomplete statements’.
‘For instance, she claims that we’re applying for 108 hectares to be commercial and residential.
‘That’s untrue. We have applied for 37 per cent of the site to be zoned as environmental conservation and management. She also makes alarming claims about koala habitat that are simply untrue and the comments about acid sulphate soils dramatically over-simplify a complex issue,’ said Mr Murray.
But Coorey has hit back, telling The Echo the developers are inaccurate in their material, and she is calling for a meeting between the groups and the NSW Department of Planning. She did concede, however, that she made ‘two changes’ to the petition, ‘and offered people the chance to retract their signatures’.
‘I am seeking clarity on the remaining points as their information is unclear and at times inconsistent.’
Regarding the size, usage and zoning, she said, ‘Advertisements in the local papers have shown residential 44 per cent and environmental 46 per cent. Which are the figures?’
And as for koala habitat, Ms Coorey says, ‘The proposal [says it] creates and increases koala habitat, though we cannot see where such an outcome is guaranteed in the DCP’.
‘Could Mr Murray please direct us to where this is specified and how it would be achieved?
‘We are very concerned that there is transparency and accuracy and accountability surrounding every aspect of the proposed West Byron development and look forward to Mr Murray’s clarifying these key points in a public meeting,’ says Ms Coorey.
Ms Coorey added that the group’s petition is on its way to reach 2,000 signatures by Monday. ‘Of the 1,800 who signed, more than 1,000 of them are from Byron and neighbouring postcodes. We will be sending it as a submission to the DPI and will give it to MP Don Page in the next couple of weeks.’
To join the residents’ group, call Catherine Coorey 0402 315 345.