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March 30, 2023

Opponents begin court action to stop North Lismore plateau

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Sections of the North Lismore Plateau are the only rural areas currently covered by E-Zones. (Darren Coyne)
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By Darren Coyne

It’s on again.

Opponents of a proposed residential development on the north Lismore plateau have begun fresh court action in an effort to stop the project.

The summons was lodged the NSW Land and Environment Court on Friday and is expected to be served on the Lismore City Council today.

The matter will be mentioned in court on 29 July.

Bundjalung elder Michael Ryan, who was successful in an earlier court challenge against the proposed development, is behind the latest challenge.

He has the support of the Bundjalung Elders Council, and the Ngulingah Land Council.

Mr Ryan previously halted the proposed 1550 dwelling residential development, arguing that the publicly-displayed rezoning plans had environmental zones removed by the NSW Planning Department prior to its approval by the minister.

Bundjalung elder Michael Ryan. (picture Darren Coyne)
Bundjalung elder Michael Ryan. (picture Darren Coyne)

The court found that Mr Ryan’s argument was sound, and as a result the Lismore City Council was forced to re-submit the rezoning plans, with the environmental zones restored, and the state government gave the go-ahead last week.

The latest challenge centres around the claim that the council failed to take into consideration the results of an archaeological report that had been underway for two years.

That work allegedly revealed a further four Aboriginal sites that would be destroyed by the development, that had not been taken into consideration when councillors gathered for an extraordinary meeting to approve the project.

Further, opponents will also argue that European heritage had not been taken into account, with a number of dry stone walls likely to be destroyed.

The North Lismore Plateau Protection Association has also indicated that it was receiving legal advice with  view to mounting a Federal Court challenge against the proposal.

That challenge would centre around three known Commonwealth-listed endangered species, the most significant of which was the Thorny Pea.

Association member Al Oshlack told Echonetdaily that opponents had not lodge any injunction to stop work at the site at this stage, and would instead wait for the results of the Land and Environment Court challenge.

‘But if they try to rely on the rezoning they have to undertake any work to disturb the ground or remove vegetation we can apply for an injunction,’ he said.


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