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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

West Byron decision can be reversed, say residents

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The rhetoric has intensified over whether the West Byron mega-housing development, which was recently approved for rezoning by the state government, can be reversed.

Retiring Nationals MP Don Page told Echonetdaily yesterday that the option to do something else with the land was not available.

‘I’m advised by the Department of Planning and Environment that a rezoning that has been subject to a merit based assessment process over several years and gazetted by the minister for planning cannot normally be overturned by a minister,’ Mr Page said.

‘If due process has been followed, as it has in this case, there are no grounds to overturn the decision.  The same applies to the creation of a new SEPP, or a court appeal,’ he added.

Mr Page told ABC radio earlier in the week that the Byron Residents’ Group (BRG) and ALP Ballina candidate Paul Spooner were ‘misleading’ the community by indicating the decision could be reversed.

But BRG have hit back, claiming it is Mr Page and the National Party who are misleading the Ballina electorate.

BRG’s Cate Coorey says, ‘Don Page is not telling the truth. We obtained legal advice that the minister for planning has the power to rescind her re-zoning decision for West Byron and hand the rezoning decision back to Council.’

False hope

‘We were unable to challenge the minister’s decision on West Byron because she has almost unfettered powers to impose whatever she wants upon us at West Byron. These same powers also allow her to change her mind.

‘Don Page and the National Party are the ones who have been peddling false hope. They said that they would protect koalas but are allowing a third of the core koala habitat on the site to be cleared for houses and shops and surrounding the rest with development.

‘They said that they would solve the traffic problem but they refused to assess the traffic impacts of the full development and the marginal benefits of their bypass will be overwhelmed by the additional traffic from West Byron.

‘They said they would hand planning decisions back to the community after they rezoned West Byron but now they are imposing their own Development Control Plan – which will say exactly what will go on the site – upon us.’

‘The National Party also misled the community by claiming that the development would only be for a maximum of 850 houses, yet in her final decision the minister increased the density by allowing subdivision down to 150m2 across all residential areas, now allowing 1,500–2,000 houses to be built on the site.’


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4 COMMENTS

  1. This development should never have been approved. The NSW Government continues with the rhetoric that they ‘have returned planning powers to local government’. The trouble is they only ‘return’ them when Council’s support development. When a Council puts legitimate restrictions or rejects a rezoning for a number of reasons the State Government moves in to look after their developer mates.

    I have voted against all inappropriate developments on Ballina Council but unfortunately many have been approved due to the majority of Councillors being either threatened by the State Government to approve these rezonings or because they are worried that the State will impose less restrictions and developer contributions that those in Macquarie street.

    It’s great to hear that Labor is against this development and while it made a great campaign announcement, they should be made to support a motion in the upper house that addresses the obvious systemised corruption that dominates the decision process of all the major parties.

    Real change not just more of the same.

    Jeff Johnson
    Independent Candidate

  2. Many locals at last week’s Council Meeting spoke at Council calling on Byron Councillors to

    fulfill their obligation to implement the two Community Consultation motions passed at

    recent Council meetings. They then pointed to a one night notice for a Community Consultation

    meeting last week called for by pro-development Councillors (Cr Ibraham, Wanchap,

    Woods, Cubis and Hunter) to a tiny number of businesses and residents adjacent to their

    Shirley Street road properties to discuss the Shirley street widening motion which was later passed by them. Because the notice was sent to a small number of people with only 12 hour overnight notice just six (yes 6)

    community and business people attended. By the time they got to Byron’s Community

    Centre to examine plans their numbers had shrunk to 3. One attendee, who did not want to

    be named, described the consultation effort as “bugger all.” Another attendee said it took

    the majority Councillors only about “one minute” to decide to proceed with the plan. These

    Councillors then used their majority at Council to commit $206,000 of rate payers money on the

    project.

    Master Plan consultant McGregor Coxall’s Community Consultation for

    the Byron Bay Master Plan was over-written by the Councillors’ motion. Yet McGregor Coxall has

    held over a dozen public meetings, and has received over 1500 submissions.

    Yes another victory for Cr Ibraham, Wanchap, Woods, Cubis and Hunter who clearly do not understand the meaning of Community Consultation.

    • I should be very interested to learn what the state significance of this West Byron development actually is.
      The development was rushed through NSW State Planning under the regulations allowing so in State Significant developments. So, what it significant about putting a housing development is a swamp?
      Other than stupidity… ?

      Also, in cases such as this where expediting the process is essential for justifiable State Significant reasons, there is a fee required. So pardon my ignorance, but how much is that fee and is there a voluntary contribution component allowable to assist in the expedition process???

      If Mr Page, as the former Minister for the North Coast, assisted in facilitating a significant contribution to the NSW Government in order to rush through a development approval on the eve of his political retirement, then can be please disclose the sum of money that was contributed?

      So.
      Steven Frank … tough tittie??
      Yeah – I’ve got a couple. How are yours feeling… ?

      This is only the beginning

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