Ballina Greens MP Tamara Smith has lashed out at a new structure at the Cape Byron Lighthouse café describing it as looking like a flying saucer has crashed into the lighthouse.
That’s certainly how it looks in this photograph provided by an Echonetdaily reader, taken from the Byron Bay Surf Club.
The structure is designed to provide undercover seating for about 25 café patrons but Ms Smith says it was illegally constructed and she wants it removed.
‘I will keep coming back to the minister and just keep explaining that it’s not about whether you’re up there and say “on this is not that big a deal” it’s about when you look up from Byron at that iconic landscape and you see something that’s like a flying saucer,’ she told ABC radio.
‘I’m not giving up on it and I’m hoping that common sense will prevail,’ she added.
Cape Byron Trust mismanagement
In March this year, Ms Smith wrote to Planning Minister Mark Speakman to outline her concerns.
‘The management plan for the light station refers to low impact structures being permissible if they don’t obscure or intrude in any way on views to and from the site,’ Ms Smith wrote.
‘The briefing and photography included suggest that this awning is an intrusive structure that interferes with the view to the site; that it is not in keeping with the plan of management, and that mismanagement of the work by Cape Byron Trust may have occurred,’ she added.
‘Dr Donald Ellsmore DPhil FAPT, author of the Cape Byron Lightstation Precinct Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 2008, advised that in his view the structure is not consistent with the Conservation Management Plan and that he was not consulted about the new structure.
‘David Milledge, the co-author of the CMP stated publicly that the cafe development is diametrically opposed to what is written in the CMP.
‘A Review of Environmental Factors was conducted but it remains unclear who was consulted as the roof structure is not in line with the CMP. [I have] requested a copy of the REF formally from the Cape Byron Trust but they have not been forthcoming,’ Ms Smith wrote.
Liquor licence withdrawn
It’s not the first time the café has come under criticism in recent months.
An application for a liquor licence to serve customers up until 8pm each day was withdrawn in April after complaints from Arakwal co-managers of the park that they had not been consulted.
Echonetdaily understands National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff also had not been informed by management of the application.
And a former Cape Byron ranger has told Echonetdaily that the NPWS is ‘pressing ahead with plans to install a gondola’ within the park.
Given the cafe building is illegal, and the gondola is already being worked on as a done deal, the NSW government agency is running a very dodgy show at the top of the hill,’ he said.