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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

Minister ‘misled’ over need to rezone West Byron

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Map showing the 108-hectare proposed West Byron Project. Source westbyronproject.com.au
Map showing the 108-hectare proposed West Byron Project. Source westbyronproject.com.au

Luis Feliu

A delegation of opponents of the controversial proposal to build 1,000 homes at West Byron will highlight residents’ concerns directly with planning minister Pru Goward in Sydney today.

The Byron Residents Group say the minister is being misled by her department about the supposed need for the housing development and state planners were ‘cooking up a planning shortage’ of housing in Byron shire that did not exist in order to justify the West Byron development.

The group will also say it is wrong for any other developments to go ahead without community approval.

The West Byron development is being determined by the planning minister rather than Byron Shire Council, which has concerns about impacts on traffic, koala habitat, sewerage capacity and acid-sulfate soils.

Residents group spokesperson Cate Coorey said planning department population projections for the far north coast used to justify rezoning at West Byron and Ewingsdale were outdated and did not give an accurate picture.

Ms Coorey said the area’s population was growing less than expected and around  double the number of new homes needed for the current growth were being built or planned.

Today’s meeting with the minister comes after an initial attempt to meet with her was rejected, with the minister earlier this month inviting Ms Coorey to talk to one of her senior departmental officers instead.

However, arrangements were later made by the minister’s office so the meeting could take place with the delegation, consisting of Ms Coorey, Dailan Pugh, Andrew Murray, Mary Gardner and Yvette Steinhauer.

‘We do believe minister Goward needs to hear the real concerns about this development that her own Department of Planning is apparently not telling her,’ Ms Coorey told Echonetdaily.

‘The department is cooking up a housing shortage in Byron that does not exist to justify rezoning West Byron and allow other developments to go ahead without community approval,’ she said.

‘We also need to convey to the minister the people of Byron’s anger and outrage at the lack of consultation about this development and the fact that they have had no say in it.

‘We feel very strongly about putting forward our case, given the enormous amount of community antipathy to the West Byron rezoning and the number of people who have signed our petitions and conveyed their objections (to Ballina MP Don Page),’ she said.

Ms Coorey said the coalition government had ‘committed to returning planning decisions to communities if they were voted in’.

‘Rather than repeat the planning messes of the previous government, several members of which are now before ICAC for their activities, the minister should be looking at remediating them,’ she said.

Ms Goward told Mr Page in her letter responding to the residents group request that ‘West Byron Bay represents a significant portion of the only remaining area within Byron shire identified for potential urban development under the 2006 Far North Coast Regional Strategy’.

NSW planning minister Pru Goward.
NSW planning minister Pru Goward.

She said that in 2009 the site was gazetted under the previous government as a potential state significant site and since then the planning department had been considering possible rezoning.

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  1. Thoughts to ponder. 1000 homes and 2000 people without jobs and 500 more children filling our schools.
    1000 cars and 6 more school buses . The Inghams chicken processing plant employed 250 people in Feb 2012 but has now closed. Jobs in large numbers can only come from tourism or retirement/nursing homes.
    Economists work on growth (population) to sustain life,environmentalists also work on growth (forests) to sustain life.Which would you prefer?

  2. If we had TRAINS on our rail line people would have better access to affordable housing throughout the Shire, in Mullumbimby, Bangalow, Ocean Shores, etc and there would be absolutely no need for a west byron development at all. there are already going to be housing developments at Mullum, Bangalow and Bexhill.


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