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Byron Shire
October 1, 2023

West Byron development monstrous: mayor

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Map showing the location of the proposed West Byron Project. Source westbyronproject.com.au
Map showing the location of the proposed West Byron Project. Source westbyronproject.com.au

The Byron Residents’ Group has commended mayor Simon Richardson for bringing on an urgency motion at today’s council meeting urging the state government to knock back the controversial proposed development at West Byron.

If approved, the planned estate of up to 1,100 dwellings in reclaimed wetlands would be the largest-ever development in Byron Shire

The future of the ‘state significant’ development is expected be decided by the government in coming weeks.

Cr Richardson said he was not opposed to development per se but that ‘it’s all about scale’.

‘A couple of hundred houses on that site would be fine,’ he told ABC radio this morning, ‘but a thousand is a monstrous addition’.

Cate Coorey of the Byron Residents’ Group said she was ‘pleased that the mayor shares our concern that the department of planning has not followed due process with regard to the rezoning, in some cases not even following its own guidelines’.

In particular, she said the department had allowed studies referring to significant koala habitat and acid sulfate soils to be withheld from public exhibitions concerning the rezoning.

‘They have also allowed a traffic assessment to be included that is seriously flawed and does not follow Roads and Maritime Services guidelines,’ Ms Coorey said.

‘These irregularities have meant that the community was not properly informed as to potential negative impacts of the development so they could not make an unbiased assessment about the rezoning.

‘The department has not demanded an acid sulfate soil study be undertaken of the site which goes against its own guidelines for rezoning. Since 77 per cent of the site is acid sulfate soil affected, the potential for major damaging impacts on Belongil Estuary and adjoining Cape Byron Marine Park is very real.

‘The developers have grossly underestimated the likely traffic impacts of West Byron. The Department of Planning and Infrastructure’s proposed zoning of West Byron allows for up to 1,100 houses rather than the 856 assumed in the developer’s traffic studies.

‘Byron Shire Council’s own 2009 traffic study assessed that the development of West Byron would result in a 12.6 per cent growth in traffic rather than the eight per cent claimed by the developers.

‘An adequate independent assessment of the traffic impacts of West Byron upon which the minister for planning can approve this rezoning is yet to be done.

‘Given that core koala habitat has been identified on the site, it would be premature to allow rezoning until a proper assessment of the risk to koalas is conducted that conforms to Byron Council’s Draft Koala Plan Of Management, which will come before Council in July,’ Ms Coorey said.

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  1. Our useless mayor is happy to sell scarce public land in Ocean Shores and spend our hard earned money on maintaining sports facilities that hardly anyone uses, but when it comes to affordable housing in Byron Bay he prefers a few mansions. Most of us can’t wait for the next council election so we can bring some sanity back to the Council Chambers

  2. Firstly i have no issue with someone capitalizing on there investment,providing it does not have a negative effect on others,in which i beleive without question the current proposal will have. I have lived in Byron for 26yrs.employing 30/40 people in my former business The Box King ,and being involved and contributed to many community projects.,consequently i know a lot of locals in the bay. I have asked the question to just about everybody,residents and business owners alike..What do they think about this development proposal, i dont know who you guys are asking, but what i get back from 90% is a resounding no.A more congenial development that reflects the desires of the community would be much more favourable to all.So defering the rezoning until further evaluation is completed would be a more appropriate path to consider… Allan Yarrington

  3. I wonder whether the housing at W Byron would be affordable? What is affordable — and affordable to whom? Haven’t noticed many kindly property developers cutting prices for anyone. People who are on low or no incomes need affordable rental housing. Hard to achieve because of holiday lets. Who can stop investors buying houses at West Byron and holiday letting them? In reality – no one. Money talks – which is why we are having this bulls%#t development foisted on us.

  4. I worry that if this development is to go ahead that home owners wont be able to insure their homes for flood. I have paddled my canoe over a large area of the site and over fence lines after a cyclone in the 80s.
    We are all told and I believe there is solid evidence in now of sea level rise happening right now. Byron Bay is an island surrounded by wetlands which have been barely drained (the Belongil estuary on one side which meets tallow creek catchment at about skinners shoot road). West Byron is one of the drained wetlands. It is a scandal that this land is up for development.This issue is just one of many that prohibit its housing development potential.


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