Open Letter to the Minister for Planning
Dear Ms Goward,
I met with you as part of the Byron Residents’ Group and presented you (verbally, visually and in writing) with a review of your department’s growth projections. The information I provided you was explicit in proving that your Department’s 2013 growth projections, as included in the Far North Coast Residential Submarket Analysis of September 2013, did not, in any way, justify your Department’s claim in November 2013 that their West Byron proposal is a potential State Significant Site because of a need to alleviate ‘pressures on housing supply’.
I consider that your Department’s decision to proceed with West Byron in light of this report was fraudulent.
I laboured the fact with you that your Department’s 2009 fanciful estimates that Byron’s ‘population would increase by 11,400 people, at a rate of 1.5% per annum, from 2006 to 2031’ (which were initially used to justify West Byron’s SSS status) had been proven wrong by the 2011 census and revised down in the Residential Submarket Analysis 2013 to a ‘population increase of 1,675 people, at a rate of 0.2% per annum, from 2006 to 2031’.
I also informed you that (according to ABS census data) ‘Over the 5 years from 2006-11, Byron Shire’s population grew by 587 people (1.9%), and the number of dwellings approved grew by 1,019 (7.8 per cent)’.
I was thus shocked to find that you too are now misrepresenting the Residential Submarket Analysis 2013 in letters to justify claims that West Byron is of State Significance, telling people ‘The Far North Coast Residential Submarket Analysis 2013 identified that population growth in Byron local government area is expected to outpace dwelling production’.
In summary the Residential Submarket Analysis 2013 identifies that Byron Shire’s population is expected to grow by a further 1,088 people from 2011-2031, that there are 910 new house lots projected to become available from 2011-16 (without West Byron or Ewingsdale), and that ‘51 per cent of new dwellings are expected to stem from infill development’ (ie without new lots being created).
Basically it identifies that we have far more dwelling capacity than we need to accommodate the projected population growth, concluding ‘Byron is well positioned to accommodate future population growth’.
Accordingly I ask that you correct your false and misleading claim, and most importantly I implore you to review this report for yourself before you rely on this falsehood to make decisions that will have major ramifications for Byron Bay’s future.
Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay