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Byron Shire
September 28, 2023

Elliot enters fray over West Byron rezoning

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Richmond MP Justine Elliot (second right) with Byron Residents' Group members (l-r) Yvette Steinhauer, Paul Margolin, Dailan Pugh and Don Maughan. Photo supplied
Richmond MP Justine Elliot (second right) with Byron Residents’ Group members (l–r) Yvette Steinhauer, Paul Margolin, Dailan Pugh and Don Maughan. Photo supplied

Luis Feliu

Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot has thrown her weight behind the campaign against the controversial West Byron housing development, saying it would be ‘irresponsible’ to rezone the site.

Mrs Elliot met with members of the Byron Residents’ Group (BRG) yesterday and inspected the site, saying afterward she fully supported the community’s opposition to the ‘oversize development’.

She said her concerns included the impact on koalas and their habitat, acid sulfate soil runoff, increased traffic congestion and the impact of buildings on flood-prone areas.

Public exhibition of the rezoning proposal for the 108-hectare site 2.5 kilometres west of the Byron Bay township closed on 31 January and the state planning department is now reviewing feedback and considering a recommendation.

The site is mostly owned by a consortium of local landowners, which proposed the rezoning to the government under its controversial ‘gateway’ planning policy. Hundreds of houses and a commercial precinct are planned.

Mrs Elliot said the rezoning was the responsibility of the state government and Nationals MP Don Page ‘and to date they’ve totally failed the people of Byron in pursuing this irresponsible rezoning’.

She called on the government to refuse the rezoning application and refer it back to Byron Shire Council ‘for proper community consultation’.

‘Quite frankly, I don’t trust the state government with this application – it should be referred back to the Byron Council and the community,’ she said.

Mrs Elliot’s meeting and tour yesterday followed an onsite inspection last week by Lennox Head-based MLC Catherine Cusack, who has also taken up the residents’ group’s concerns.

The residents say the proposed development allows for the destruction of almost a third of the core koala habitat identified.

It also includes intensive development in 70 per cent (21 hectares) of identified koala buffer zones and in key koala link areas that pass through the east of the site.

The BRG says it is lobbying against the rezoning until a proper assessment of the risk to koalas is conducted that conforms to Byron Council’s new Koala Plan Of Management.

They say also that there’s still no adequate assessment of the traffic impacts of West Byron.

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  1. It is a shame that a few local people that I have known for a long time will be affected financially if the rezoning does not go ahead but the environment must take precedence over monetary gains in this instance.Did the owners buy the land betting that they may get it rezoned,if so then they would have realised that they may not have got it rezoned.
    If you gamble then don’t expect to win all the time .Even if they sell the land now before rezoning we the community will fight tooth and nail against any developer in the future.

  2. A very sensible comment from our federal member calling on the government to refuse the rezoning application and refer it back to Byron Shire Council ‘for proper community consultation’. Local people are calling for it. Let’s see if the state government is listening?

  3. yes your on the right track with this one Geof ,B , why should we the residents allow just a handful of greedy punters to make us all wait in line even longer ,are they going to pay for my time & petrol wasted , let alone the carbon foot print . , its already a joke .


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