8.2 C
Byron Shire
June 18, 2024

‘Still time to intervene’ over West Byron

Latest News

Why have NSW Labor failed to hold their promised drug summit?

On budget eve the banner ‘Premier, you promised. Drug Summit Now’ was dropped cross from NSW Parliament calling on NSW Labor to set a date for the long awaited NSW Drug Summit.

Other News

Murwillumbah’s Budd Park – what do you want to see there?

Tweed Council is seeking community feedback on a draft concept plan to upgrade Budd Park at Murwillumbah, a popular meeting point beside the Tweed River.

What is the future of Lismore? Here are some ideas for what it could be

After the devastating floods of 2022 the future of Lismore was thrown up in the air and it was time to take a long hard look at what the future of the town would be. 

Volunteer groups get funding

Fourteen projects led by volunteer groups have been awarded $300,000 through the Community Building Partnership Program, says local Greens MP, Tamara Smith.

A deeper dive into plans to abandon Mullum’s local water supply

With Council seeking community input on its proposal to disconnect Mullumbimby’s local water source and instead be reliant on water supplied by Rous County Council, local Greens candidate and water engineer, Elia Hauge, has added her concerns around the lack of meaningful consultation and process.

16-year-old Mullum boy summits Imja Tse

Back in 2017, nine-year-old local boy, Finn Marshall-Rosato, became the youngest Australian to trek to Everest Base Camp, unaided and carrying all his own gear. 

Ballina Council join study to understand water use

Ballina Council has joined Bathurst, Dubbo and the Murray River Council areas to participate in a cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology that aims to identify how people use water across regional NSW. 

Map showing the 108-hectare proposed Map supplied by West Byron Project shows the planned size of the site compared to the Arts & Industry estate to its north. Source westbyronproject.com.au
Map showing the size of the 108-hectare West Byron project site compared to the Arts & Industry estate to its north. Source westbyronproject.com.au

Chris Dobney

Opponents of the West Byron housing development, which was approved by the state government on Friday, say there is still time for outgoing Ballina MP Don Page to intervene over critical issues, including traffic, koala habitat and acid sulfate soils.

The controversial development was announced by an anonymous planning department spokesperson last Friday and is scheduled for government gazettal this Friday.

Mr Page told ABC radio on Monday that no development would be allowed on acid sulfate soils and that koala habitat would be protected at West Byron, while also stating that no development should be allowed until the bypass is constructed and operating.

Byron Residents’ Group (BRG) president Cate Coorey, said today that ‘West Byron will be Don Page’s legacy for Byron Bay and it is important for the Byron Bay community that the worst of its impacts are minimised’.

‘We request Don Page to urgently contact planning minister Pru Goward and make these commitments conditions of consent for her approval of West Byron. His integrity is on the line here,’ Ms Coorey said.

The group is strongly critical of the fact that Ms Goward has so far failed to comment on the development, which has been on the drawing board for a decade and was taken over by then planning minister Kristina Keneally for state determination in 2009.

But a departmental spokesperson told Echonetdaily, ‘the department regularly responds [to] and announces matters such as a rezoning as a matter of core business. This is standard practice across the NSW government’.

He pointed to other recent departmental announcements, such as the fine imposed on North Byron Parklands for excess noise, as examples.

Lot sizes

BRG has been consistently critical of the number of proposed home sites in the development and Byron Shire Council has today joined the call for lot sizes to be reviewed.

‘Given that the developers of West Byron have consistently claimed their development will be limited to 850 dwellings and both they and Don Page have refused to assess traffic impacts beyond this threshold, we ask Mr Page to also limit the consent to a maximum of 850 dwellings,’ Ms Coorey said.

Byron Shire planning director Ray Darney told ABC radio this morning that the council would be seeking an increase in the minimum block size, which he equated with Sydney’s notorious ‘McMansion’ blocks, as part of the site’s Development Control Plan.

‘It’s very similar in density to the outer suburbs of Sydney, suburbs such as Campbelltown, which have those type of smaller lots in order to achieve more affordable house types,’ Mr Darney said.

‘One benefit here is that the sites could be more affordable but I think that from a broad perspective of greening in our environment, particularly our residential areas, that we’d been looking at trying to make a submission to have larger lots,’ he added.

Points of contact

Meanwhile, opponents of the development keen to make last minute submissions have been struggling to find anyone in government to speak to.

Environmentalist Dailan Pugh told Echonetdaily he has spent hours on the phone being redirected from section to another.

‘If you want an exercise in futility try phoning the Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) to find anyone to speak to,’ he said.

‘Having waited for 15 minutes to speak to the receptionist she tried putting me through to a number for [the contact person named on the DoPE website] that dropped out, and when I then tried the number it was disconnected.

‘When I rang back I was put through to the Urban Renewal section, though that number didn’t exist either. At least that time I was put back to reception, they then put me through to another section who told me that [the website contact] no longer worked there and there was no one available to speak to me except for a student planner who would take my details.

‘While waiting to be put through to him I was hung up on. I then tried the minister’s office at 11.30 am and was told someone would get back to me.

‘Having wearied of waiting I rang back at 3.15 and was told they had a number for me to ring: they wouldn’t give it to me but insisted there would be no problem and put me through to it, I got an answer machine at the DoPE. I rang back the minister’s office, with some muttering about putting the minister’s decision online tomorrow I was told that someone would ring me back. Waiting, waiting…’ he said.

The DoPE’s anonymous spokesperson told Echonetdaily that the department’s information centre was ‘the vestibule where we ask people to go to give comments on particular proposals. Although in this case the approval has been granted, people are still welcome to leave their comments and make their questions. They may not have all the answers at their fingertips and some calls may need to be returned. Their number is 1300 305 695.’

Byron Residents’ Group is also urging the community to contact Don Page asking him to ensure that the consent conditions protect koala habitat, exclude development from acid sulfate soils, limit development to 850 dwellings, and ensure that development does not commence until a bypass is complete.

Meanwhile, the long-hoped for anti-corruption inquiry into the contentious development’s approval is ‘effectively annulled’ after the state government’s go-ahead on it, according to MP Jan Barham.

The Greens MP and former Byron shire mayor referred the approval process to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), but said any hope of an investigation now appeared unlikely.

‘The ICAC referral has been effectively annulled by the fact the State Government has approved the development,’ she told APN Media.

 


More stories tagged West Byron development

Historical truth

Some people choose to rewrite history when it suits them. Former mayor Simon Richardson has been telling people that his protegé, Michael Lyon, was instrumental in getting the developers of Villaworld/ Harvest Estate to reduce the number of houses...

0

West Byron – wetland or suburb?

Turning the West Byron housing development site into a wetland for excess effluent from the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is a possible solution to its increased output, says Greens MP Tamara Smith and Byron Shire councillor Cate Coorey.

3

Destructive West Byron development refuses to die

West Byron has raised its ugly head again as a group of local landholders attempt to use the courts to force their excessive and inappropriate over-development of a sensitive site, adjacent to the Belongil Estuary, upon the Byron community, against its will and best interests.

5

Editorial: The dice are loaded

The Regional Planning Panel (RPP) booked the Byron Theatre last week in order to give local people the opportunity to let off steam with verbal objections to the West Byron development proposal.

0

No agreement reached in West Byron mediation

A court-ordered mediation between Byron Shire Council and West Byron landowners yesterday resulted in no in-principle agreement, meaning the matter will likely head to court.

3


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for all your good work Dailan!

    There have been some comments of interest regarding the developers on other articles posted by readers.

    Perhaps Echo you should keep them ‘up’ on all related articles?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Questions remain unanswered over Mullum’s water strategy

Questions unanswered over Mullum’s water strategy Council’s Water and Sewer Advisory Committee (WSAC) members Ben Fawcett and Elia Hauge say their concerns around Mullum’s future...

Greens Councillor Dr Nola Firth is running for council again

Dr Nola Firth has announced that she is again running for Tweed Shire Council in the upcoming 14 September elections.  During her last term Cr...

16-year-old Mullum boy summits Imja Tse

Back in 2017, nine-year-old local boy, Finn Marshall-Rosato, became the youngest Australian to trek to Everest Base Camp, unaided and carrying all his own gear. 

Labor announces its councillor ticket

Labor councillor, Asren Pugh, and South Golden Beach local, Janet Swain will head the Byron Shire Labor team to contest the Byron Shire Council elections on September 14.