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Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

Ewingsdale developers accused of ‘queue jumping’

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An aerial photograph of the planned retirement village and retail site at Ewingsdale.
An aerial photograph of the planned retirement village and retail site at Ewingsdale.

Chris Dobney

The group that organised the recent protest against a West Byron development has now thrown its weight behind Ewingsdale residents opposing the building of a retirement village and shops adjacent to the new Byron Central Hospital at the corner of Ewingsdale Road and the Pacific Highway.

Byron Residents Group (BRG) has attacked Byron Shire Council for referring the matter to the state government for Gateway Determination when it says there was no provision within council’s own LEP to allow the development.

BRG also claims that if the two projects were allowed to proceed they would use up all the remaining capacity of the West Byron Sewerage Treatment Plant, effectively forcing a moratorium on small-scale developments such as granny flats within Byron Bay for years to come.

The group adds that Ewingsdale Road, with its notorious traffic queues, is ‘the worst place in the shire for more development’.

BRG president Cate Coorey said the Ewingsdale community… ‘are rightly outraged that their own council is selling them out’.

She added BRG was not opposed to council’s initial 2011 decision to include the land in its Growth Management Strategy, as it would have ‘given the community their right to decide if such development was needed or appropriate for this site.’

But she said things went off the rails last year when ‘with no community consultation, council unanimously decided to sideline the community by referring the proposal to the Minister for Planning for a Gateway Determination’.

‘There is no reason for this to be determined by the state government,’ Ms Coorey said.

‘Proper care for our aged should be better planned than this. A 28-day response time to the proposal, which was already as good as approved by the state government is unconscionable,’ she adced.

‘The proposal ignores Council’s own Positive Ageing Strategy, which recognises that a “whole of Council” and “whole of community” approach is necessary to find practical local solutions to the issues and challenges [around ageing] identified by the community.

‘We have the Far North Coast Regional Strategy, the LEP and soon a Growth Management Strategy that are meant to guide how the town grows. Some councillors want to ignore them all because they think they know what is best for Byron and they are happy to enlist the Department of Planning to force it on us.’

Ms Coorey described developers who want to go outside the system as ‘queue-jumpers’.

‘If other people want to do any kind of development in Byron Bay they won’t be able to because all the sewerage capacity will have been taken up. And if we need to upgrade the STP who pays? We would, the ratepayers of Byron Shire,’ she said.

‘There are currently around of 17,000 car movements on Ewingsdale Road every weekday. This development will result in around 4,000 additional daily car movements. This would be on top of the thousands of daily car movements that the West Byron proposal would generate.’

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  1. You have to remember that most residents will not be driving SUV’s around – indeed many will be bedridden – and others reliant on the small local shops to address their day to day needs. This kind of development will ease traffic into town, not exacerbate it. It is a beat up and a furphy. Keeping the hospital and the elderly out of the town centre will be a good thing, not an additional burden. Think of it as a satellite development for the ageing.

    West Byron is another matter entirely!

    • The key phrase here is “cumulative impact” the two developments are not separate matters as taken together they represent a major change to the locality, and they are close on each other heels with similar planning arrangements. It is forgivable to conflate the proposals.

      As to the claim that the development will ease traffic in town and not exacerbate it….that’s codswallop; shopping centre’s need a healthy clientele. It will attract people from other areas who would normally go to Byron.

      Wasn’t there some horrific car crash there a couple of weeks ago?


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