As evident from recent letters, the community expects to be allowed to have a say in what land we rezone in Byron Shire for new residential or commercial developments. This should not just be an expectation, the community have a right and responsibility to identify the location and scale of new developments such as West Byron.
The 2007 Far North Coast Regional Strategy requires that Byron Shire Council will prepare a Local Growth Management Strategy prior to zoning further land for urban, commercial and industrial uses. This process is meant to apply environmental constraints and allow the community a say in identifying the best places for 10 year staged releases of additional land across Byron Shire.
The 2007 Strategy identified that to meet projected regional growth until 2031 the whole of Byron Shire had to provide 2,600 new dwellings, and 40 per cent of these were meant to be west of the highway. We are already exceeding targets.
Byron Shire was allocated a reduced share of the regional growth target in recognition of both our importance for tourism and because of the additional impacts of all those extra people.
The strategy gave us the opportunity to evolve as a community in a planned approach (rather than being overwhelmed), to better live within environmental and infrastructure constraints, and to better cope with our tourist burden.
The state must honour Byron Shire residents’ rights to determine how best to achieve the state’s growth targets in accordance with the state’s Regional Strategy. Recent events prove that due process must be followed and Ministerial discretion must not be unfettered.
Byron Shire Council resolved to prepare a Local Growth Management Strategy in 2008, though never pursued it.
Council must meet their obligations to prepare a Local Growth Management Strategy for the whole of the shire to give residents their say in a planned approach, rather than continuing to let developers and the state impose their ad-hoc grandiose schemes upon us.
Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay