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May 9, 2021

West Byron approval ‘a potential disaster’

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Jan Barham MLC support BYS initiative 'Cringe the Binge'
Jan Barham MLC

The state government’s approval of the West Byron mega-development is a potential disaster for the community of Byron shire, according to MLC and former Byron shire mayor Jan Barham.

Her announcement comes just days before outraged Bay residents prepare to rally and march against the new suburb on Sunday (see below for details).

The Greens MP has warned that the community ‘must at the very least have a say in the setting of development standards’.

‘West Byron is the wrong development in the wrong place and will have impacts on the cultural and natural environment, as well as delivering major pressure on infrastructure,’ Ms Barham, the Greens spokesperson for the north coast, said.

‘The community of Byron was ignored by the state government, which has broken its promise to the community from last election to return planning powers back to locals after they were removed by the previous Labor government for major developments,’ she said.

‘The state has now imposed this large, out of character and potentially dangerous development on a small community, despite opposition from the residents and also against good science and planning.

‘The next blow for good planning will come with the Development Control Plan (DCP) that defines the scale and design of the development, and the community is locked out of this process as well.

‘The council and the community must be allowed to set the development standards for the West Byron development to ensure that the necessary protections for the environment and the appropriate levels of community facilities are included in its design.

‘This site will comprise the largest single development in Byron Shire, and at the entrance to the tourist icon of Byron Bay it cannot be allowed to fall below the standards that have been historically applied.

‘Byron Shire Council has a history for being at the forefront of ecological and social planning but the DCP proposed for the West Byron site falls well below the standards the community of Byron accepts and deserves.

‘Byron Shire Council must be allowed to determine the DCP and ensure that a community consultation process is provided to seek input on the final document for this mega development.

‘The West Byron development is of such a large scale and poses so many risks of design failure and environmental damage. The strategic, precautionary and experienced focus of council and this community might at least be able to avoid or alleviate the potential for negative impacts.

‘The state government’s credibility with the local community is at a major low. Not since the ALP approved the Becton development has there been such community outrage.

‘The community wants and deserves the right to have a say in the design of the West Byron development – it’s the future we as a community will have to live with forever.

‘This government, this premier and this minister will not be around when it all goes wrong,’ Ms Barham said.

Parkway Drive's Winston McCall will MC Sunday's rally.
Parkway Drive’s Winston McCall will MC Sunday’s rally.

Rally Sunday

Meanwhile, Byron Bay residents, angered that their pleas have been ignored by the state’s planning department, have decided to stage a last-ditch rally and concert in the town on Sunday afternoon ahead of next month’s election.

The event will kick off at 3pm in Railway Park, followed by a march to Apex Park where the crowed will be informed and entertained by a range of talent, including soulful surfer Dave Rastovich, Dancing Man Tommy Franklin, local band Mount Warning and Arakwal spokeswoman Delta Kay.

The event will be MCd by Parkway Drive lead singer Winston McCall.


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  1. I can’t help but wonder that if there was not a huge “community” backlash against every single proposed change or development in Byron, then maybe things might not have come to this. While I have no love for the current arrangement I can understand the mentality of the State government towards our little shire, when all they can hear is noise. A community works towards the good of all, not just a few, and for too long self-serving voices have been the loudest. So now we have a local government that cannot govern, local development planning done at state-level, to build local housing that most locals can’t actually afford.

    What will be the outcome? Will this be like the evil Mullumbimby Woolworths, where if you look closely at alot of the cars in the carpark you can see faded anti-woolies protest stickers, half scratched off in a desperate attempt to pretend they didn’t sell-out? Or will it be like the huge outcry against Geoff Harveys Byron @ Byron, which is now lauded as an example of desirable regional development? The world didn’t end when Peter Noble moved Blues Fest to Tyagrah, and Splendour management is getting better and better as it evolves, in fact those two festivals keep more money in the region than any property development does. Will anyone rent or buy a house in the proposed West Byron area, especially when it is so close to these sports fields everyone got so upset about?

    Until we gain one voice don’t rely on council, or ex-council members for that fact because they are just as much the part of the problem. When was the last time we had an elected official that made a difference, to someone other than themselves, even when like Jan they have had the best intentions? In Byron we don’t just inherit the last councils problems, we inherit the last ten, as well as having every single know-it-all blow-in’s expert advice, founded on what they would like to see happen. Byron is more than just a bay, and a community is much more than property prices. We should be working towards employment, more youth services, a proper co-operative movement, sustainable development, public transport and all the little things that will make us a cohesive and coherent community and then we will get the power back. Until then, let’s all keep yelling all at the top of our voices about what we want, you just might be the lucky one if you shout the loudest, don’t worry that your neighbour’s getting screwed. OR we could talk in inside voices about what is best for everyone and we won’t end up being ignored when it counts.


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