For many months now we have been hearing from various members of the Greens, how unjust it is that the state government is making planning decisions about West Byron.
What we have not been hearing from them is how responsibility for that outcome lies firmly with Byron Shire Council.
In 2007, council wrote to the NSW Department of Planning advising that Council did not have the resources to undertake the processing and review of the rezoning and requested funding for a planner to undertake the task. Council had received an offer in writing from the West Byron landowners to fund a planner of Council’s choice should the Department of Planning not be in a position to provide such resources.
Council never even responded to this offer.
Byron Shire Council has been urged in writing by the Director General of NSW Department of Planning (Jun 2008) and then by the Hon Kristina Keneally when she was planning minister (Mar 2009) to progress the assessment of the site’s rezoning.
The landowners were left with no alternative but to ask the former state government to assume responsibility as the Consent Authority after years of council inaction, despite the offers of additional resources to allow council to complete this role.
All Byron Shire councillors would prefer for the decisions around West Byron to be made by council. However, some of us believe it is time for council to start taking responsibility for decisions – or indecision – of past elected councillors.
If, like us, you are angry that the state government was left with no alternative but to step in, make sure your anger is directed at those responsible for this outcome – those who asked for your vote so they could occupy the roles of mayor and councillors for Byron Shire between 2005 and 2010 and then failed to do the hard parts of their jobs.
Byron Shire councillors Diane Woods, Chris Cubis and Alan Hunter