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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Wildlife no respecters of E2 zones

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I am the owner of 115 acres of land zone E2 at Empire Vale, South Ballina, NSW. My land has 1.25kms frontage to a beachfront Crown reserve. It varies in depth from 230 metres to approximately 350 metres. The vegetation is typical of the dunal area along the NSW north coast.

The land to the west is zoned R1 primary production.

Conflict exists between the agricultural practices on the RU1 farmland and the wildlife in the E2 land. One of the most problematic issues is that wildlife knows no zone boundaries and regularly visits the farmland to vary its diet. Wallabies are particularly partial to soya beans and young sugar cane shoots and cross the border nightly to feed.

The farmers either shoot the wallabies themselves, or they hire a professional.

Neighbouring farmers have killed many wallabies this past year because it was costing them thousands of dollars in lost crops. When it hits you in the hip pocket, you have a different view of the environment!

The environmental zones and farming zones do not work in harmony when they are merely narrow ribbon zones.

In the past three or four years we have had dreadfully wet years and the weeds have taken off like you would not believe. The Morning Glory has covered a lot of trees and choked them to death and the pink flowering lantana, Brazilian deadly nightshade and coral berry have really taken over in extreme proportions.

Then this last year we have had drought conditions so bad that many of the banksia trees, which provide the food for threatened species of bats and birds, have died. There are skeleton banksia trees with no leaves everywhere in the E2 zone now, and all they provide is a good bird perch with no food as the honey-bearing banksia cones have gone with the leaves.

As the E2 zone appears to be controlled by Greenies who live in rabbit hutches in town, there is no real perception of how to assist the E2 zone to portray its finer features. The people living in the E2 zone are being ruled and governed by the so-called dune carers and wildlife volunteers who live outside the zone. It is one thing to plant a few trees as a volunteer on public land and then go home to the rabbit hutch for a cuppa and cake afterwards. It is another thing to live and work in the E2 area and strive to protect it all without help and without money. No-one needs to become a slave to the environment (or the Greenies’ ideology).

We are not allowed to have cabins or development in the E2 zone, but with no income earning ability, how can we eradicate weeds and re-plant species like banksia trees? How can we protect the environment when we are being so locked up? How can we show visitors to the area all the beauty of nature?

‘Save the environment, save the environment,’ the Greenies say, but we who live here are saving it and loving it to death. We just need more of a chance and understanding to be able to make an income from our land so we can work it and improve the environment.

Now to the size of land titles in the E2 zone. The minimum area you are allowed to build a house on is 40ha (100 acres). This is far too large for one owner to manage, and it should be allowed to subdivide into 4ha (10 acre) lots with a dwelling entitlement on each which would be much more manageable financially.

The local Council is shooting itself in the foot by locking up the E2 zones. The beachfront area south of the Richmond River is the only area suitable in the shire to have a beachfront resort. This would bring people to town to spend in the shops and restaurants (look how many are empty in Ballina at the moment), fly in and out of the airport, use the other tourist facilities, buy local produce and use the ferry.

Margaret Howes , Empire Vale


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1 COMMENT

  1. I totally agree with everything said in this article.

    I have a 100 acre farm in Wauchope NSW, zoned for the Most part as RU1 Primary Production. In the latest Local Environmental plan the council decided to put a large E2 slice right through the middle of it following along the course of a small first order stream.

    I have researched the reason for this zoning and found that it was placed there as a drainage corridor for a Council dam further upstream. There were no habitat concerns, Endangered flora or fauna living in the zone or any other reason to prompt the rezoning to E2 – There is just no other zones appropriate to ensure that the hydraulic capacity of the stream is not limited.

    I agree that the stream should not be dammed so that the drainage capacity is maintained. Besides, who wants to cause a flooding hazard on your own property.

    The point of contention with the E2 zone comes in when considering what works you can do within the zone without fear of prosecution from the “Greenie Brigade”. The whole strip of land bordering the stream is now completely infested with Lantana, to a point which the stock grazing on the land cannot access the water to drink. And due to this accumulation of Lantana and other pest species in and close to the watercourse – during flood events debris flowing down are getting stuck and creating a series of beaver dams – Ironically severely reducing the hydraulic capacity of the stream.

    Another issue with the E2 zoning is the approval requirements. Luckily the stream had a Ford crossing constructed in it well before the zoning came into effect which let the stock traverse my property. However, as you may suspect each time a herd of cattle cross the flooded crossing it stirs up a significant amount of sediment adversely effecting the water quality downstream. When I approached council to upgrade the Ford to and all weather culvert crossing I needed to:

    1. Provide a statement of Environmental Effects
    2. Submit engineering plans for the crossing
    3. Provide ecological assessment by a suitably qualified person addressing whether the works will create any impacts on flora and fauna – remember the E2 Zone is just for drainage.
    4. Because the works will be within 40m of a watercourse, the application will be treated as integrated development and require approval from both the Department of Primary Industries under the Fisheries Management Act and Office of Water under the Water Management Act.

    Because these state bodies are now involved –

    5. The integrated provisions will also trigger the need for the application to be advertised for community consultation.

    Have we gone MAD????? All I wanted to do was place in some pre stressed box culverts so that we could cross the creek in all weather without the stock or vehicles stirring up sediment.

    If this E2 zone did not divide my property there would be no Lantana or other noxious weeds, No debris dams, Stock would have access to drinking water and the downstream water quality would be improved.

    The Greenies are killing this country and the bureaucrats are helping them.

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