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Byron Shire
June 25, 2024

Byron’s pro-development ‘Gang of 5’ selling us out

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Thank you Byron shire Cr Duncan Dey for your letter re the CBA fiasco in council regarding costs of future coastal (mis)management, aka the Belongil saga.

What we’ve had in Byron shire for far too long now, is a short sighted majority on council who have failed to listen to the needs and concerns of our community, nor consider expert advice, while pandering to a small handful of business operatives, developers and dune-dwellers.

I noted the other evening that Auburn Council had been sacked, primarily because of the property developers and real estate agents in their midst. Corruption!

Likewise on Byron Shire Council, we have one real estate agent together with four business and pro-development councillors who have hijacked community interests in favour of short term, inappropriate and damaging development together with these so called ‘protection works’ at Belongil. Deadly!

Our shire is being destroyed – our towns, our lands and our unique culture.

With the prospect of increased building heights, poorly designed land development, consequent flash flooding and beach loss, a downturn in business opportunities, a breakdown of basic infrastructure, loss of biodiversity, flora and fauna and a polarised disgruntled community, the sooner we see the back of this rampaging ‘bloc of 5’ the better.

We definitely need visionaries in place, or at least people who can think beyond the term of their elected office and the interests of their backers, and for the greater good. Report card on current council – definitely an epic fail!

Jan Hackett, Sunrise Beach

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  1. The demise of social liberal Byron Bay is crystallized in the issue of paid parking. Through paid parking the council has implemented a de facto social cleansing campaign. This is an assault upon lower income Australians and the regions unique culture. Because this campaign is fuelled by self interest it is divisive and has polarized the community.

    The operation of this campaign has been obscured by the mantra that revenue from paid parking will ‘fix the potholes’. This is a fiction. It is a fig leaf for the nastiness of paid parking. As the councillor Rose Wanchap pointed out in the Echo on 11th Aug 2015, it is estimated that revenue from paid parking is sufficient to resurface only 1,400mts of pot holed road once a year.


  2. In response to Jan Hackett, I wonder how loud she would scream if where she lives is under threat of destruction by fire, flood, or inundation of water.
    Its all very well to sit on the sidelines and criticise, but taking into account legal responsibility, as well as concern for any resident under threat including but not limited to Belongil, the decision to protect with only 120 metres of rock wall joining to much larger walls, was the right thing to do
    What will this person say when we come to look at protecting residents of New Brighton and South Golden Beach. Or what would this person say if we walked away from our responsibilities to the people who live in major landslip areas, or refuse to fix creek and river crossings because “they choose to live there”
    Or does Jan agree that all walls erected to protect property including Johnson Street should come out.
    You can’t have it both ways.
    All or nothing

    • Di Woods talks about legal responsibility!

      You would have to have rocks in your head to purchase a property on the Belongil sand dunes based on past history. During the cyclonic event in 1974 Belongil houses fell into the sea. It was obvious that this was going to happen again.

      Di and her pro development fellow travellers also voted against prosecution of illegal holiday lets despite council staff stating that holiday letting is illegal in residential areas.

      Don’t be a hypocrite Di.

    • All Di, all. You need to look beyond next week and plan for the future well-being of the entire shire, not just protect a few litigious dune dwellers at the cost of the social and environmental wellbeing of the entire area. For years you have used scare tactics to bludgeon residents senseless and defenceless over the matter. You have chosen the most harmful and expensive means of protecting properties that were always meant to be temporary and de mountable. I find it excruciating to watch you destroy the very fabric of the town and rob us of a viable and sustainable future. You should read up on the history of the place – storm damage and flooding from the late 1800s – and then reassess you tack. There are so many examples that have been offered up to you of similar situations around the world, where the road you are forcibly adopting has lead to massive beach and property loss at great community cost. You need to take off your blinkers, but then I’m sure you are only mismanaging our coastline because you are simply running scared of being sued by the one or two monied residents. I’d like to see our council grow some backbone and consider best advice and future scenarios that benefit the majority, not a minority. Have you noticed that councils in the UK and the States are NOT protecting their cliff huggers residences from falling into the sea? Can we afford to create artificial beaches in the future to attract world travellers???? I think not. We really need to protect what we have and nurture it. It has proved it can withstand assault from rain and tempest for over 150 years and rising seas won’t affect us for many decades. We need to prepare for that – which is a long way off – not hasten the whole degradation process, which is what rock walls will do.

  3. Diane

    I looked at buying beautiful a house with river frontage. But because the house was under threat from erosion I did not purchase. It was buyer beware.

    I rang the local council and they told me they accepted no liability for the river bank. It did not occur to me to buy it and then expect the council to shore up the river bank at a later date.

    Flood protection for CBD areas such as Johnson Street is an entirely separate issue. So it is no good screaming all or nothing.

  4. Jan Hackett has summed up the situation very clearly. The gang of 5 ignore democratic process in order to push ahead with their aims. The history of the Belongil has been debated clearly in The Echo. Bottom line …how come there is development over the boundary/ridge line? Was this development ever approved by Council? If not, do these developments qualify as legitimate according to development dictates today?

    Is the community being conned into paying for protection of a few houses? If Di Woods is so keen to ignore above then I ask her…Is there an existing Evacuation Plan for the Shire in the likely possibility of Floods Fire etc?

    One cannot drive in floods, there is no train out of town, there is no destination articulated by Council. And more to the point there is no will to have a holistic lateral vision for the Shire.


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