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October 2, 2023

Labor aims to ‘terminate’ West Byron plan

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Cate Coorey, Paul Spooner and Dailan Pugh rip up the West Byron SEPP at the proposed development site.
Cate Coorey, Paul Spooner and Dailan Pugh rip up the West Byron SEPP at the proposed development site.

Michael McDonald

If elected, NSW Labor will take plans for the West Byron development back to the drawing board, according to its Ballina candidate Paul Spooner.

Mr Spooner said Labor would terminate the State Environmental Planning Policy (West Byron Bay) 2014 that amended the 1988 Byron LEP so that the West Byron area sits within the 2014 Byron LEP. The desired effect of this is to rescind the recent rezoning of West Byron which enabled the go-ahead of the planned residential and commercial development of some 55 hectares on a 108ha site.

Bigger lot sizes

If the site sits within the 2014 Byron LEP, minimum lot sizes for low-density residential would go up from 450m2 to 650m2, and from 200m2 to 400m2 for medium-­density residential.

Labor would also commit to handing back the development and approval of any development control plan for the site to Byron Shire Council.

Mr Spooner said Labor would support the proposition that any new proposal must include traffic reduction strategies for Ewingsdale Road, include larger and fewer blocks, support low-cost housing and ensure the protection of Belongil Creek and the local koala populations.

‘We need to act’

‘If I am elected to Parliament and Labor forms government, West Byron will not go ahead,’ Mr Spooner said. ‘The first conversation I had with [NSW opposition leader] Luke Foley was about the West Byron development and how we needed to act.

‘I want to see Byron Bay preserved, not wrecked. If this development proposal in its current form goes ahead, it would change life in our community forever.

Local conservation activist Dailan Pugh and Cate Coorey of the Byron Residents’ Group have welcomed Labor’s position.

‘This is an essential move, Mr Pugh said. ‘It will remove a lot of the residential density.

‘We hope we can go back to square one and have proper consideration of traffic impact, acid sulfate in the Belongil estuary and koala habitat.’

Ms Coorey also emphasised the need to consider social impact. ‘The existing plans could raise Byron’s population by thirty to forty per cent,’ she said.

NSW Nature Conservation Council CEO Kate Smolksi had planned to meet with residents protesting outside Council’s Mullum offices last Friday while Department of Planning staff met with Council staff inside. However, the wild weather meant the meeting was abandoned.

Ms Smolski said in a media release that the NSW planning department’s handling of the West Byron development ‘is one of the worst instances of administrative heavy-handedness we have seen’.

Flawed planning

‘Planning minister Pru Goward needs to explain to the community why the West Byron development has been fast-tracked, because this is not a development of state significance and it does not deserve to have a separate planning policy to ram through development that the people clearly oppose very strongly.

‘Sadly, this is a consequence of the state’s flawed planning system giving developers undue influence.

‘The minister’s actions in relation to West Byron are a flagrant breach of the promise the coalition gave before the last election to return power in the planning system to the people.’

The Byron Young Residents Alliance (BYRA) in conjunction with the Byron Residents’ Group are hosting an all-ages community event and rally to Protect Byron on Sunday March 1. It will begin at 3pm with a march from Railway Park to Apex Park, Byron Bay, followed by entertainment from 4pm till sunset.

Parkway Drive leader Winston McCall will MC the event which features a number of local performers and appearances by surfer Dave Rastovich, Arakwal spokesperson Delta Kay and the Mana Aloha hula troupe.

See more information on the Protect Byron Rally Facebook page.

Ms Coorey said in relation to the Protect Byron Rally, ‘We hope to get a commitment from all [NSW election] candidates on the West Byron development.’

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  1. I hope this is not a case of political opportunism to win votes?

    Labor has a sordid history in regards to state planning, and thats one reason they were routed in 2011 state election.

    This issue is all about social amenity and preservation of Byron’s unique character, which under the proposed planning approval will transform the character beyond recognition and in crease the population beyond sustainable limits.

    End of the day it will be power and undemocratic politics that will win out, unless there is a mass mobilisation to defeat this abomination.

  2. That might be the case but what about Labour coming out with a statement that they are in favour of allowing more coal projects in NSW? So we can expect to be paying for the clean up from dirty coal with either party in government 🙁 it’s a sad state of affairs when you realise that as long as this game of throw out one puppet and bring in another, is not going to change until the whole way governments operate is changed and when big corporation and their lobbying cronies are separated from the elected government. then we might say that it’s a government of the people for the people 🙁

  3. Political opportunism or whatever if takes. STOP West Byron from going ahead. Put future development somewhere that actually makes sense. Not in an environmentally sensitive swamp with severe traffic implications. Duh!!

    Vote for Paul Spooner!

  4. hahahahahaha..is it april fools day? first he sucks up to the greens by pretending to save the koalas now this..they call themselves the ‘labour’ party but they are destroying jobs to grab the green vote…1984!!

  5. Sorry Paul, that is an oxymoron, “must include larger and fewer lots, support low cost housing” just like “almost candid” or “all natural artificial flavour” or “almost pregnant”
    The reality is land cost in Byron is the largest single cost of new housing – larger fewer lots increases the land cost and therefore reduces the affordability – simple arithmetic…..


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