Menu

Byron cans quarry site development plan

The Broken head quarry site on  both sides of Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park. Image Byron Shire Council

The Broken head quarry site on both sides of Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park. Image Byron Shire Council

 

Chris Dobney

Byron Shire Council voted yesterday to refuse a highly contentious development proposal to turn a former sand quarry at Broken Head into a community title housing development.

The council also voted against a staff recommendation that the developers be given the opportunity to reconsider the proposal, with mayor Simon Richardson saying the developers should fix the site first and then wait ten years before they attempted another DA.

The mayor and the overwhelming majority of councillors were opposed to the development under any circumstances.

They further agreed to require the property owners demonstrate that they were adhering to the terms of their existing DA by remediating the former quarry and regenerating the ecologically endangered vegetation at the site.

Cr Chris Cubis alone failed to support the council resolution.

Jewel in the crown

In voicing his strong opposition to the proposal, mayor Simon Richardson said, ‘Byron is the third most bio diverse region in Australia and Broken head is our jewel in the crown. If ever a precautionary principle should apply it is in Broken Head.’

He added the idea of a development in ‘an incredibly constrained and bio-diverse area, adjacent to Aboriginal women’s sacred site is abhorrent.’

‘The close proximity to Taylors Lake and its cultural significance to our local Indigenous people is a concern.

‘I’ve never been there – and never will do – as it’s a sacred women’s site and that needs to be respected and protected.

‘The quarry was a contentious DA approval in the first place. We want to be assured, now the money and the work has dried up, that they’ve actually put money aside to fix the site. They’ve got remediation to do. Let’s see how that works and tell them to come back in 10 years,’ Cr Richardson said.

Threatened species

Former council staff ecologist David Millege spoke against the development during public access.

He said that the area contained five threatened rainforest plants, 15 threatened fauna species, and was itself an endangered ecological community.

‘Council’s requirements for progressive rehabilitation of the site have not been met,’ Mr Millege said.

‘We need this to enable viable populations in the long term. What has been done is tokenistic and ineffective. Approval would permanently disrupt the functioning of the wildlife corridor and possibly destroy it,’ he added.

‘The owners must be required to abide by requirements of the existing DA and remediate the land,’ Mr Millege said.

Speaking in support of the plan at public access, town planner Chris Power was forced to fall back on legalistic argument to make his case.

He claimed when the quarry was approved by the Land and Environment Court, it only had to be proven the proposed development ‘not inconsistent’ with the objectives of the [existing] zoning.

Under heavy questioning from councillors Mr Power was unable to provide details as to which parts of the site remained under native vegetation and which parts, if any, had been revegetated.

‘I don’t dispute not all the conditions [of the existing DA] have been complied with,’ he said in response to a question from Cr Paul Spooner.

Cr Dey asked if the proponents planned to fulfil the existing requirement for rehabilitation before any development commenced, to which Mr Power replied, ‘no the proposal is that the subdivision would go ahead and regeneration would subsequently accompany the [new] approved plan.’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.