Council ‘ignored process’ over controversial development

Broken Head Quarry. Photo

Broken Head Quarry. Photo

Hans Lovejoy and Chris Dobney

Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has declined to comment on claims by former mayor Jan Barham that the council failed to use ‘due process’ in considering an application to turn a sand quarry at Broken Head into a residential development.

In a letter published in Echonetdaily yesterday, former mayor and NSW Greens MLC Jan Barham says she is outraged at a proposal for the controversial Broken Head Quarry, site which could see a community title (CT) residential development in an area of ‘high ecological significance’.

While submissions closed yesterday (July 21), Ms Barham blasted Byron Council over its failure to adhere to strategic planning and biodiversity protections.

Ms Barham said the 60- hectare site has been ‘one of the most controversial developments in Byron Shire’s history, attracting more submissions than the high-profile Club Med development proposal.’

‘The land is not even featured in the council’s map for community title development and fails to meet the zoning requirements for residential subdivision. The current DA states that ‘The proposal complies with applicable development standards and guidelines. It is compatible with strategic objectives for the area’.

‘This is a misrepresentation of the planning processes that currently exist for the site and the application should’ve been recognised as inappropriate and refused.’

She added that instead it is being set up for consideration, ‘by a council that now appears to have abandoned the decades of commitment to strategic planning and biodiversity protection that the community expects.’

She says the property sits within a wildlife corridor, features endangered species habitat including at least thirteen threatened fauna species, and a history of impacting on the cultural and ecological values of an identified Aboriginal place, the ti-tree lake.

Ms Barham is urging Council to extend the deadline for submissions.

‘After only two weeks of exhibition – which was also school holidays for some – hardly anyone knew about it.’

No extension

But the council’s planning manager said the development had been ‘advertised appropriately’ and there would be no extension.

Ray Darney, told Echonetdaily the  development application (DA) for the community title proposal at the Broken Head Quarry has been advertised for the past two weeks and was on exhibition for 14 days, as was required.

He said the DA would now go to council for determination.

‘It’s not clear within the application if the Section 117 direction still applies to the land and whether the Department of Primary Industry is supportive regarding the proposed subdivision. The Section 117 Directions were designed to protect significant mineral resources,’ Mr Darney said.

‘Along with many other criteria, this would need to be clarified by NSW Planning, plus council will need to seek feedback from the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation (Arakwal) and the Jali Local Aboriginal Land Council.’

Mr Darney said the applicant had made it clear what they were proposing for the site and had provided substantial documentation.  ‘As a result, the DA will be assessed on merit and consider environmental, biodiversity, conservation and indigenous criteria.’

‘Almost 50 submissions have been received so far and the closing day is tomorrow 21 July,’ he added yesterday (July 21).

Echonetdaily sought comment from Greens mayor Simon Richardson yesterday by both phone and email but did not receive a response.

One response to “Council ‘ignored process’ over controversial development”

  1. Josephine Beams says:

    Please have some respect for the sacred womens’ site of Levers Lake (Taylors Lake) a very special place, and turn this decision around.
    This land has been desecrated enough by the sand mining and needs time to heal . Show some respect.
    The damaged entrance way off the highway, could make a very good site for an indigenous gallery and welcome site for the town as was suggested some years ago by an elder who has now passed.
    Money greed and Development at all costs still seem to reign supreme.430
    Respect to Land and Country and Elders past and present are just hollow words when we dont listen to the voice of spirit. I do not believe that it is appropriate to develop this land as residential land.
    And by the way , this is the first that I have heard about it so not much notice has been given to people who may have strong feelings about this.
    Yours sincerely
    Mati Jo Beams

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