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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Byron Bay shopping mall plan a greenwash

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The recent Echonetdaily report on the latest Mercato Jonson Street shopping mall uses all the right words but something is lost in the translation.

What is sustainable?

The retail study is based on Queensland shopping malls. I believe the excessive floor space proposed will put ten local retail shops out of business and affect many others in Byron. This is not ethical or economically sustainable.

The two-storey underground carpark is below the water table and in my opinion will drain the area for up to 200 metres around the site, causing damage to adjacent wetlands and structural damage to surrounding buildings. This is not environmentally sustainable.

Moving 40,000 cubic metres of toxic acid sulfate soil to an unknown location is only transferring the problem to a wider area. This is not sustainable.

The landscaping with 50 trees has balconies and roofing above and a two-storey concrete car park below with no deep soil for them to grow. This is not sustainable.

A roof full of solar panels and a completed energy rating checklist does not translate into facilities shown on the plans. A fully air-conditioned enclosed box is neither energy efficient nor attractive. The building design and materials proposed have a major carbon footprint with continuing high energy use and carbon output. This is not sustainable.

A few power points for electric scooters, super-imposed artwork applied to a boring building, a token art gallery, a meeting place in a paved shopping mall forecourt and a bowling alley is patronising to our real community needs and not socially sustainable. Byron wants zero-carbon, energy-efficient, artistically designed buildings sensitive to nature and fully landscaped open green spaces to meet.

In my opinion this building is not ‘Australia’s most environmentally sustainable retail development’ and does not ‘truly reflect the Byron Bay character’.

It is only greenwashing.

It is not sustainable economically, environmentally or socially. It is not Byron.

John Sparks, Bangalow


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  1. I also hear that the radioactive tailings from sandmining and processing are buried at this site. There is a thick clay cap over all the material. This was done with the understanding that it was not ever to be dug up. Disturbing a radioactive contamination site for an underground car park or digging into this for new structural works is not good or “green” news for residents, tourists or the landowners. In addition to all the above reasons, development, esp on the scale proposed, cannot happen on this site.

    Does anyone have a map or any other records about the contamination and the remedial works?


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