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Byron Shire
December 4, 2021

Councillor’s complaining neighbours not a ‘whingeing minority’

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Without wishing to get drawn into tit-for-tat correspondence with Cr Hunter, his letter in the recent edition of the Echo does raise some interesting issues:

  1. I refer to the report presented by Mr Ray Darney to the recent council meeting at which the councillors overwhelmingly decided not to extend the trading hours for his mini-storage business to allow access by his tenants on weekends and public holidays. This report included data on vehicle movements over a two-week period in November last year, in an effort to demonstrate the small number of vehicles accessing the facility on a day to day, week-day only, basis. On the face of it this appeared to be the case – the traffic generated was quite modest – but the numbers  noted by the local residents living in the two homes overlooking the access road (aka the narrow winding country lane) suggested otherwise. It is clear from their  observations that there were significant movements of vehicles during this period which were not reported in the ‘survey’ – for the simple reason that they were vehicles visiting, not the approved  operation but the additional container storage facility which the Hunters have been operating, without a DA and for which the application has now gone  on display in the Council Chambers this week. I suppose it’s hardly surprising, when you think about it, that these additional traffic movements wouldn’t be recorded in this ‘survey’ as they were being generated by an operation which  had been brought to the attention  of council’s compliance staff but which, at that point in time, wasn’t supposed to be going on !!
  2. There also seems to be a fundamental inconsistency in the remarks made by Cr.Hunter about the concerns of the ‘long suffering neighbours’ about his activities. On the one hand he seeks to dismiss me as some sort of ‘weekend visitor’ whereas I have, in fact, well established credentials, having lived and worked in the Byron Shire since the 1970s, having owned and operated numerous businesses and  having paid rates on a number of properties over the years. He further seeks to diminish the concerns of several of the owners of adjacent properties as  ‘persistent hostility from three to four neighbours’ whereas, the meetings these residents have held in recent years to discuss these issues have been well attended – on occasions by all the homeowners in the street and sometimes by residents of Tyagarah Road as well. There seems to be, in this attitude, a reflection of a concerning national agenda by large corporations, engaged in environmentally sensitive activities, to limit the right of objection to their operations to only those whose properties are most immediately affected (in this case almost all of the seven houses to which he refers) and then seek to disparage those people by characterising them as some sort of whingeing minority group.

Graham Mathews, Myocum


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  1. What is Byron Shire Council compliance doing about prosecuting Cr Hunter’s illegal storage facility? The Land and Environment Court issued an order for him to stop the illegal business in a rural area and remove the shipping containers. He has not complied. Appears to be laws for other people to obey but his attitude is that he is is an exception and above the law.

    His latest DA application shows 2 photos of his so called “sheds” that he wants to have approved as a storage facility. There are 3 “sheds” each containing 6 shipping containers that a NSW Court instructed him to remove. If you looked inside they contain the goods of his clients.

    His DA will be rejected by Council and compliance should take maximum action against him. He is one of many who thumb their noses at the law. No wonder Byron Shire has so many compliance problems when compared with other Northern Rivers shires.

    • I am aware that Byron Council’s Compliance and Rangers are overwhelmed with the number of complaints about problems in the shire that they receive. They do their best to resolve these but are understaffed.

      When the holiday letting policy is introduced then the number of complaints will multiply. The General manager will have to increase compliance numbers to effectively deal with all problems.


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