I have attended a number of candidate forums and need to clarify some historical points about West Byron mega development.
National Party candidate Kris Beavis continues to refer to the fact that the decision for West Byron was taken away from council because it had ‘failed to act’. The fact is that council had acted; it had refused the rezoning proposal for good reasons.
Perhaps what he means is that council hadn’t given approval and so the state had to. Council didn’t approve the rezoning because detailed studies determined that the proposal was unacceptable. But the ALP state government identified that the site was of significance and took control, deeming it necessary to meet housing supply.
There was no housing crisis to require a state government intervention. Byron Shire was actually meeting and exceeding the housing approvals required by the state government’s Regional Strategy. The new housing for the shire had been planned for Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads, not Byron Bay.
Planning investigations supported the fact that Byron Bay could not take further development pressure and this is what the community supported.
So please, candidates, accept the facts: the ALP took away our right to determine our future planning of Byron Bay and the Coalition gave the final approval. The community has been a considered, long-term planner, protecting and preserving a place that is increasingly popular but now at risk of losing its appeal due to the major political parties overriding community rights.
Jan Barham, Broken Head