The juxtaposition of the Byron Residents Groups concerns (‘claims’ if you like) and the staff planner comments shows how misunderstandings criss-cross one on top of another. The DCP is to present the ‘rules’ for the entire site, the general principles that are to be met before any breakdown in to individual DAs. Without broad plans in place such as the Koala Plan or Management, Acid Sulphate Soil Plans, Belongil and Drains Assessment, the long awaited Sewage Treatment Plan Assessment and a Catchment Plan for water and flooding, each DA is considered on its own. This is a textbook example of ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
I might add that building up W Byron quite likely improves the prospects for stronger flooding in town.
At the community information meeting, planner John Sparks pointed out the four overriding objectives/principles that should be in place at the very start of the DCP document.
1. All vegetation protected (and I would add plans for filling in corridors finalized and the legally required buffers all drawn in) ;
2. No fill to be used (much of the site would require from 1-2 metres fill BEFORE any construction such as infrastructure or housing could be attempted) ;
3. The ecological footprint of all dwellings and infrastructure must be self sufficient and handle onsite all water/stormwater management while meeting Shire’s targets as ‘zero-carbon’ (i.e. solar hot water/power generation); and
4. protect all environmental zones (meaning that infrastructure is not to impinge on these.)
Also at the community meeting, Jan Olley from Bird Buddies added that council had legal obligations to the wildlife of the Belongil – ‘As demonstrated in the “Birds of Belongil Estuary and Byron Wetlands Report 2015”, there have been 179 bird species recorded in the Belongil Estuary; 20 species are threatened species, 31 species are migratory species protected by International Agreements and 10 are resident shorebirds.’
Everyone in Byron Shire can add for themselves their firsthand experiences of the traffic jams on Ewingsdale and what they think of adding on a daily basis the travel of the vehicles from 1500+ households (i.e. a town like Mullum).
And if this site is such a hot development prospect, why ever would the largest owner be SELLING his land all before the DCP process is done and the first spade of acid sulphate soil is turned?
So go on, add your submission. Imagine if a thousand people in the Shire responded — it could be the Bentley effect all over again.
Mary Gardner, Byron Bay.