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Byron Shire
October 17, 2021

Greens call on Wanchap to quit Byron Council

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The Byron Greens convenor has publicly called on renegade councillor Rose Wanchap to resign from council after she announced on Friday she was leaving the party.

Ms Wanchap, who has frequently been at odds with her fellow Greens councillors, crossed the floor on Thursday to vote with pro-development councillors to defeat an urgency motion over the proposed West Byron development moved by fellow party member and Byron mayor Simon Richardson.

In the fallout following that move she announced that she was leaving the party ‘by mutual agreement’.

In a brief statement following the announcement Byron Greens convenor Tom Tabart told Echonetdaily, ‘I welcome the news that Cr Wanchap has finally recognised the irreconcilable differences that have existed between her and the Greens for a long time’.

‘Now that she has left the Greens it is her moral duty to also resign as a councillor, having gained that position as a member of the Greens’ election team.’

Pecuniary interest denied

But Ms Wanchap has declined to stand down, saying, ‘I want to assure the community that despite not being a member of the Greens, I will continue to fight equally for social justice, environmental and financial sustainability that affects the health and wellbeing of the whole community, while striving to create access for the average person to rent or own their own home here in Byron Bay.’

At Thursday’s meeting members of the Byron Residents Group, speaking during public access, asked Cr Wanchap, who is a real estate agent, whether she had a conflict of interest in the matter.

But Cr Wanchap told Echonetdaily that she believes there are no pecuniary interests that need to be declared in relation to her voting on the development.

‘I was advised by staff that, as a realtor, there are no financial gains that I could make that relate to West Byron.’

She added that others on Byron Council with day jobs may benefit from the development, which were also not considered a pecuniary interest.

‘All of the restrictions West Byron faces are exactly the same as the Sunrise estate and our wonderful Industrial Estate. They sit at the same position above sea level, with the same acid sulphate soils, bounded by the same estuary in exactly the same topographical position and will most likely house the same number of people.

‘It is difficult to make the hard decisions to get the balance right between providing housing for our shire and protecting the environment.

‘With West Byron, we have had numerous workshops, the developers have worked diligently – as have staff at the state and local level – for years to get the best outcome for the community and this work needs to be recognised and respected.

‘It is clear we have a housing crisis. We need to come together and work on solutions rather than putting up obstacles.

‘I might add that the silent majority could just very well be in agreement. There were 245 submissions in support and 119 against when the application went on public exhibition. If the flooding and climate mitigation issue is addressed and an eco-friendly sustainable development can be designed to the satisfaction of all parties and key stakeholders involved, I believe this development will be a welcome bonus to our shire.’

‘Environmental fundamentalists’

But Cr Wanchap couldn’t resist taking a parting shot at unnamed people she described as ‘environmental fundamentalists’ while simultaneously calling for an end to bickering among councillors.

‘I have suffered deeply this past week in that my standing in the community, which has always been one of great integrity, has been savaged.

‘Fourteen years of working tirelessly for the underdog, supporting those who cannot defend themselves has been dragged into disrepute by those who I would call “environmental fundamentalists”.

‘I would like to see us all come together and work on the various issues that confront us with respect for each other.

‘Whilst we have varying opinions it is important that we recognise and respect each others’ opinion without [resorting] to slandering and bickering,’ she told Echonetdaily.


Related story:

Greens councillor defects over West Byron

Byron Cr Rose Wanchap has quit the Greens after crossing the floor on an urgency motion over the proposed West Byron development, siding with pro-development councillors against her own party to see the motion defeated.


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  1. Real Estate Agents, Used car salesmen and Politicians…….same brush (actually that’s probably a bit unfair on Used car salesmen…………….

  2. Rose’s quote should be rewritten to say “the developers have worked diligently to get the better of Council and the community and the profits for themselves.” They did not accept that our democratically-elected Council 3 times assessed this land and said it was not suitable for intensive development so they took it to the notoriously pro-developer Dept of Planning, that same dept that is now under ICAC scrutiny- to have it designated State Site Significant – although it in no way meets the criteria .They have deliberately misled the public by omitting acid sulphate soil studies from public exhibition, their traffic study is a joke by any standards and they didn’t like the consultant’s report that said there were koalas so they got another consultant to tell them what they wanted to hear and buried the first report. They ignored the Community Reference Group’s objections. They sent out misleading PR brochures to the residents of Byron. If Rose truly thinks this Byron housing “crisis” is real (about as real as the Federal budget crisis) then by her own assertion she, as a real estate agent, does serve to benefit from the decision on West Byron as it will net a huge increase in housing stock. If she really believes that an eco-friendly development can be made then why are the developers not putting that forward now in their zoning application? Just because Rose thinks that is what we should have, that is not what we are going to get. How mind-boggling stupid to think that the developers are going to seek zoning for 1100 homes and just build a sprinkling of fancy eco-villas! Because we asked them nicely? Puh-lease! There are 10s of millions of dollars in profits to be made here — let’s get real about the motivations of the developers. It ain’t community mindedness because everyone I have spoken to thinks it is a total lump of faecal material that will ruin Byron irretrievably.

  3. Councillor Wanchap only got elected because she ran as a Green. She is morally obliged to resign. No mention of the proverbial elephant in the room, traffic issues in her justification for supporting the development. How come? It’s all designed to make already rich people even richer. Develpments on this scale need to involve the whole community from day one

  4. There’s no housing crisis ! It’s a people crisis ! Too many ! When are humans going to get over themselves ! The whole planet has to suffer so we can go on breeding infinitum ? Rose, if that makes me an environmental fundamentalist then I’ll take it as compliment ! Meanwhile, RESIGN !

  5. After attending Council meetings I am not convinced that Cr Wanchap is representing the ‘silent majority’ on West Byron – or any development she may support.

    In Bangalow we have been trying to deal with a development proposed for Station Street, adjacent to the community market entry site and next to the historic A & I Hall. The development application is for a 2-3 story concrete block of flats and shops with underground carpark and a lift! Bangalow residents have been concerned a development of this size and scale is not in keeping with Bangalow village – and Council’s own planning documents support this view.

    Bangalow’s future is very fragile when it comes to development in the designated “heritage precinct” of the main street and Station Street. Planning guidelines for this part of the village stress the importance of keeping development ‘in character’ with surrounding heritage buildings.

    Despite numerous concerns expressed by residents in over 100 submissions, Cr Wanchap voted with the pro-development councillors to approve the concrete block of flats. With her vote this inappropriate development was nearly approved. The vote recommending refusal was 5 to 4.

    The residents concerned about the development in Bangalow cannot be referred to as ‘Environmental Fundamentalist’ as she is calling people who are unhappy with her pro-development stance.

    I supported Cr Wanchap at the last election on the basis she would listen to the community above vested interests, and consider the impact of development on our towns and villages. I do not believe she is doing that – and as a voter I feel betrayed. I would not be unhappy if she resigned.

  6. Regardless of the specs for the Industrial estate or Sunrise, these are existing developments and it is widely recognised that the infrastructure around the existing areas in terms of roads, sewerage and access are already very strained. The new development would simply push it over the edge.

  7. A real-estate agent that wont benefit from a massive housing development and all Byron council has to do is address “the flooding and climate mitigation issue “…….. Is it just me or can anyone else see that a bright future awaits this Councillor in the Abbott miracle manufacturing mob ?
    With todays understanding of climate-change and sea level rise, any fool who builds a house on a swamp can only expect one outcome and with little hope of compensation from Government, council or realtors.

  8. I do believe that given her resignation from the Greens that she should in all conscience resign as a councillor. After all that was her ticket to election. On the topic of her potential conflict of interest, I agree with Tim. In terms of West Byron development, I believe it will be a blight on Byron Bay. I am not a NIMBY, but there are just certain areas that should not be developed and all the ‘real’ evidence points to West Byron site being decidedly unsuitable for large scale urban development. Just because it is there does not mean we have to build on it. The developers could not give two hoots for the betterment of Byron and such altrusitic claims of providing much needed accommodation. Profit is the key motive bar none. If it quacks it’s a duck and this is a DUCK!

  9. Thank heavens Rose has resigned from the Greens. The big problem remaining for this community is that she was voted in on a Greens ticket. She has consistently sided with the pro business lobby and against the interests of those who elected her. Rose should definitely follow up her Greens resignation with a Council resignation, because she was elected on false premises and does not represent in any way those who voted her in. Had she been elected on an independent ticket or along with the business lobby all would be fine and above board. As she has not, her position is untenable. The community is being sold short.

  10. Be very very afraid when a real estate agent comes along wearing a green t-shirt; they can’t help themselves when it comes to an issue involving development dollars. Of course Rose Wanchap should resign from council,she has betrayed the ostensible reason she put forward for standing. Have a heart Rose, get out quick and salvage a vestige of dignity.

  11. The NIMBY Pandora’s box is now rearing it’s ugly head. How many families in Byron have grown children who have chosen to stay in Byron?? What percentage?? Answers from NIMBY’s please. I can give you a guesstimate–very, very few stay on. Why? Easy..no decent jobs, no friggin’ chance to ever own a house..no future but a low paying dead end job in the service industry, for most part. Why doesn’t Byron Shire undertake a study to let us know exactly how many children of the NIMBY generation settle permanently in Byron. The figures should be easy to obtain. Who’s to blame? None other than the same sabre rattling NIMBYs snivelling about more housing on a disused swamp. Traffic problems? Please, give it a rest..it’s the tourists, not the locals creating the problem. Solution. Once again, easy. Bring back the dairies and buttery, open a new abattoir with delicious mammals on offer, spear the odd whale or two and sell it to the Japanese, start planting red cedar forests for future generations to log at will, rebuild the dock for more tourists to land. Ok, maybe not all of the above, even though they all worked in the past, but in all the letters on this subject, virtually nothing is mentioned about job, jobs, and more jobs. NIMBY’s have no real solution for a realistically sustainable future for anyone else but themselves.

    • Steven Frank stop mangling the language with your mixed metaphors; Pandora’s box doesn’t have a head to rear.
      You are so right about NIMBYs. I’d like to put it more bluntly: a mega-suburb on the outskirts of Byron? Poisoning of the estuary and Cape Byron Marine Park? The death of all Byron’s koalas? More traffic queues? N I M F B Y !

  12. Generally I support the Greens but any good person must be true to themselves and considerate of those around them. If Rose Wanchap’s opinion is that this development is in the best interests of those she represents – the shire residents – then this view must be respected. To pressure a member of federal parliament to vote against their wishes is a criminal offense and to vote along party lines rather than vote freely reveals the evil of Howard mass murdering so many Iraqi civilians contrary to the clearly expressed wishes of the people he was elected to represent. Chris McIlrath +670 77323351

  13. If anyone thinks that this development will produce affordable housing then you need to think again and come up with a better argument because there is no way West Byron will be affordable!!

  14. Wow, someone who actually stands up for what they believe is right rather than just toeing the party line – good for you Rose. She never hid the fact that she was a real estate agent when she ran for council as a green but now she has crossed the floor it seems to be a major issue – don’t you just love these cowards who bash people in the public domain when things don’t go their way. Maybe we should just build a wall around the town and succeed from the rest of Australia – no wonder nothing ever gets done in this town.

  15. Rose is incorrect to say that “there were 245 submissions in support and 119 against when the application went on public exhibition” . That was the first time in 2011. In that exhibition the acid sulfate soil study which found ASS soils on 75% of the site was not included in the exhibition documents and the original koala report which showed significant habitat was withheld and the second more’ favourable’ one was not proffered until someone complained. Would the submissions have been as supportive if people had know the real environmental damage? Would Rose have supported it?

    In the most recent 2013/14 exhibition, there were 247 submissions of objection and 172 in support. Also submitted was the ‘change.org’ petition which at that time had over 2000 signatures; of those over 1000 signatories were from the local area.

    I know Rose has acted in the past to support environmental concerns. With this information showing improper procedure I would urge her to support the Mayor’s motion to defer the rezoning until the community are satisfied that everything is transparent.

  16. It’s okay for people who unthinkingly supported a so-called green ticket (regardless of who was on it) at the council elections now crying foul. Anyone with half a brain knew that it would end in tears and we would all pay.

    This the precisely problem with political parties.

  17. In a way I agree some fundamentalism has been brought to the table here, indeed even by well intentioned green carbon bigfoots that might have a healthy disregard of science, and likely scenarios as some of our anti-science friends. And an addiction to fossil fueled tourism and Mcjobs that will not be able to afford unaffordable West Byron. They will be “rental refugees” elsewhere. Byron will still probably be a leading real estate retailer of retailing vacancies. The missing ingredient anywhere here is any sort of coherent vision or imagination.

    Looking at the almost complete inundation of the area in the 1950s megafloods (check the aerial photos) it seems foolhardy to build more (uninsurable?) stuff on a swamp with few escape routes. Rose suggests that the West Byron site is at the same level as the Industrial Estate and Sunrise….? They were planned how many decades ago exactly?

    Can we name one street, Monty Python street?

    Looks like we will lose science with the Koalas and the Dunecare (cum Segrass beds) sites.

  18. John, nor did she ever hide the fact that she was a Green. She wasn’t. Cowards who bash people in the public domain? What on earth are you talking about? We aren’t opposed to change, but we won’t sacrifice our town and our lifestyle to those who want to destroy them. We have the right to defend the things we value. Perhaps you should succeed, (or secede) from the Bay, and leave us to enjoy it.

  19. Byron Shire,an area very rich in beatifull natural assets I strongley beleive could in the near future be listed as world heratage, kept and repaired back to big scrub conditions as much as reasonably possible for the good of Australia and our world we love and should be much more careing of in this day and age of knowledge for all.Good on on those who own land here and are restoring it, many jobs could go to the unemployed to work in this feild also. What,s wrong with garden of eden revival? Nothing, human beings are basicaly survivalalists so a move of this nature may be the magic pill that brings sanity back on the agenda for our suffering planet and many people. It can be done without to much bother or big money, not everywhere would be easy to to this but I suggest it may become popular as environmental problems that humans have created shortly imerge ingulfing us all in our own filth sorry to say. You may say Im a dreamer but Im not the only one. J Lennon
    Regarding west Byron and the development of the shire,well theres loads of that deal all along the east coast and loads of degraded land with the odd cow grazing to develop affordable housing etc and restore the beauty, this NIMBI thinking is old hat, we and future generations need nature as it was created. Byron is rich in soils, amazing landscapes and rain The area is almost regenerating by itself. An area like here for all to visit is and enjoy would show case an example of what we all can have in the way of a future.I feel I am a custodian of this beauty and live here to enhance it as so many do. There’s nothing wrong with making a dolar but I feel there is a right and wrong way to go about it, lets do it right and be proud,set an example to the world,mining has 40 years left, then what for Aust-?. Quality tourism will flourish as word spreads of our work and all could be just fine in the garden.

  20. I think you mean ‘secede’ from the rest of Australia. We will certainly not be succeeding in anything if we allow this monstrosity to go ahead. No one likes slogans like “toeing the party line” – it is reductionist and says nothing. If you joined the party then, yes, there is a ‘line’. The expectations of people who voted for Rose as a Green is that she would stand up for the beauty of Byron – that which makes it different from the suburbia-choked coastal towns we see nearby. This Byron can only come from putting the community and environment concerns at the fore. Council tried to do this 3 times and recommended against rezoning this land but these developers didn’t like the ref’s ruling so took their bat and ball and went to the Dept of Planning to overrule Council.

  21. I disagree with Rose’s position in this case, but I believe in her integrity as a human being (proven over many years with the energy she has put into maintaining/improving the Byron Shire community) and her right to vote on each council decision on its merits. I am not aware of any law which requires her to resign from her position on the council. If the Greens found her so difficult to work with then they should be glad she has made the decision to leave them, accept it, and move on. If this is the development decision she had to make to be able to live with her conscience, so be it: it doesn’t give anyone the right to attack her personally.

  22. I propose that the canal should be called Storm Surge Canal and most coasterly end of West Byron (the affordable aka poverty section) should be called Little Louisiana. Ironically quite a few musicians will live in that section. Probably down Sinking Swamp road or Feline St. Or Mosquito Blues Cresent and Koala Bear Boulevard.

  23. I don’t remember the Greens, anywhere, demanding that Ronan Lee quit the Queensland Parliament when he resigned from the ALP and joined the Greens – in fact he was lauded by the Greens from Bob Brown down, as their first Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, even though he was elected on the Labor ticket. The Greens, and their supporters, can’t have it both ways. Voters can make up the minds at the next election.

  24. Steve Frank, putting up a significant number of new dwellings in an environmentally sensitive area will not create the long term jobs that Byron area needs to sustain the owners (probably more renters, given they will no doubt be unaffordable to many). Jobs have traditionally followed industries that employed them, not the other way around and the fact is Byron region employment is based around agriculture, retail, hospitality and tourism. These do not traditionally provide the wages needed to afford even some of the most modest housing. Your perspective is very naive. I am not a NIMBY, but if you think that everyone against this development is then you should read more.

  25. I have had a personal encounter with Ms. Wanchap in the past re a rental situation )Rose Real Estate), where her daughter in law had moved her belongings into the rental property before the current rental owner could move out. I was house sitting in this situation and found the whole episode unbelievable. Especially, coming home to find furniture, books, clothes that belonged to someone else in the premises whilst I was out. I rang her for an explanation and also communicated to her that it was an invasion of someone’s privacy and legally she couldn’t do that. Her eventual answer or reaction was her absolute exasperation over the incident that left with no grounds to reason but to blatantly hang up on me. She also rented the unit knowing the toilet situation had serious problems, “a third world situation”. Apparently, the owners were peace loving Buddhists and Rose Wanchap was the real estate agent who displayed moral integrity and a follower of strict Buddhist values, who considers the well-being of the community as paramount.

    The values she carries around West Byron development explains her personal integrity even further, Well done, Rose Wanchap… you truly work with public interest at heart.


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