North Coast Holiday Parks (NCHP) and the then North Coast Accommodation Trust (NCAT) were recalcitrant in preparing Plans of Management (POM) for Massey Greene and The Terrace caravan parks, in wilful and deliberate defiance of Byron Shire Council’s (BSC) resolutions on their operational boundaries and conditions of license.
BSC’s proposed operational boundaries prohibited the inclusion of public foreshore lands within the commercial operations of the caravan parks and required the reinstatement of an unfettered public walkway along the top of the riverbank in the Terrace.
The POM failed to include Council’s licence conditions and proposed boundaries, yet were subsequently approved by minister Humphries in June 2014. They remain highly controversial because they:
(i) violated Council’s legislative and regulatory authority to determine the operational boundaries and conditions of license;
(ii) lack any transparency on the use of Ordinance 71;
(iii) failed to be compliant with park regulations in relation to setbacks, site requirements:
(iv) omitted to include Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Cultural Heritage reports, and
(v) ignored substantive criticism to the exhibited POM on fundamental issues of boundaries and compliance.
In summary, the Crown has put itself above the law.
Council staff’s recommendation, supported by independent opinion, to refuse renewal of a licence for Massey Greene and Terrace caravan parks is to be applauded.
Instead, staff have recommended that a new s68 Approval to Operate (licence) be sought by the applicant that is consistent with Council’s resolutions on boundaries and conditions.
It is imperative that councillors set a timeframe for issuing new licences for all three caravan parks that will keep our parklands and foreshore walkways as open space and public recreational areas outside the commercial operations of NCHP or any private operators that may be invited to take up long term commercial leasing of the caravan parks as has already been recommended to the Department of Lands.
Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads