15.4 C
Byron Shire
May 28, 2024

Belongil train project steams along

Latest News

The Red Heart project helps African women recycle pads 

Something that we don’t always stop to think about is how African women access menstrual and hygiene products – pads, tampons, moon cups, sponges or other ways to manage that monthly bleed. 

Other News

Danny’s world

John Scrivener, yet again, in his latest incredibly biased anti-Israel letter in last week’s paper shows us nothing new....

Final kambo witnesses called, inquest yet to hear from Lore Solaris and Cameron Kite

The Jarrad Antonovich inquest ground inexorably towards its conclusion yesterday, with more evidence from witnesses showing the tragedy could possibly have been avoided, and certainly the ongoing damage lessened, if everyone involved had taken responsibility earlier.

Coronial inquest becomes a matter for the DPP

The coronial inquest examining the death of Jarrad Antonovich was abruptly concluded late last week, as the case against the key figure involved was referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions by Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan.

The Darling Muffs of May need your help to reach fundraising target

Raising money to support frontline services for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness has been the driving force behind the Darling Muffs of May’s fundraising this year.

First Nations job seekers in Casino foot in the door to career

Trying to find something you might be interested in doing is always a challenge and local Casino barber Michael Day has come on board to help Aboriginal job seekers the chance to kick start a career in the hair and beauty industry.

Primary care nurses supported in community

Health services, particularly GP services, have been stretched over recent years and new funding to support nurses and build...

By Hans Lovejoy

The next stage of creating a train service from Belongil into Byron’s CBD has passed its latest hurdle with Byron Shire Council allowing a change in condition that will allow for railway infrastructure, including a rail shed, two railway platforms and tree removal.

While the development approval (DA) was granted on September 17, 2015, the applicant Byron Bay Railroad Company (BBRC) came back to council to request the deletion of a condition which requires the landowner (TfNSW) to place a coastal-erosion restriction on the title of the land.

Specifically, Condition 15 of the approved DA requires an imposition of a section 88E instrument to be placed on the title of the land in relation to coastal erosion.

At last Thursday’s council meeting, the Greens all voted in favour of the motion – Crs Jeanette Martin, Michael Lyon, Sarah Ndiaye, Simon Richardson – along with independent Crs Basil Cameron and the Nationals’ Alan Hunter. Crs Cate Coorey (independent), Paul Spooner and Jan Hackett (both Country Labor) voted against.

It sparked concern from residents likely to be affected by the train service; the Sunrise Progress Association (SPA) and Belongil Action Group Association (BAGA) said in a statement on Friday that the ‘unprecedented action’ allows an exemption for the proponent, the Elements of Byron resort, from ‘a core requirement to adhere to the shire’s coastal erosion policy.’

Previously they claimed that if approved, it would be unfair on everyone else who is compliant with the shire’s current coastal policy.

Licence unseen

SPA president Lee Cass says it was also concerning that at Thursday’s meeting, it became clear that ‘Council had not sighted the licence between Elements Resort and Transport for NSW.’

‘Despite this, Council continues to make planning decisions that affect Byron’s amenity regarding the train and infrastructure.

‘It is unbelievable that major decisions are being made in Byron council without knowing the facts.’
No formal reason

Cr Spooner supports the residents’ position, and told Echonetdaily, ‘My questioning of [Elements of Byron general manager] Jeremy Holmes and council staff demonstrated that this decision was granted to Elements of Byron without any reason being provided by NSW Transport as to why they would not consent to ­Condition 15 as the landowner.’

‘They just said in a phone call that they didn’t want to accept it. No formal reasons were provided. The implication of this decision for council’s ongoing coastal erosion policy (Chapter E, Byron DCP 2014 and Part J, Byron DCP 2010) is now unknown as this appears to be the first exemption granted to have a condition placed over a land title to remove approved infrastructure if the erosion line comes within 50 metres.’

But Mr Holmes told Echonetdaily that the resort ‘was not exempted’ from the shire’s coastal erosion policy.

He said, ‘Elements of Byron could not adhere to the restriction as Elements of Byron does not own the land in question. The land is owned by State Rail and managed by Transport for NSW. They would not agree to the restriction.’

Staff flagged coastal erosion policy as a potential issue but still supported the move in a report for council’s meeting.

They wrote, ‘It is considered the removal of the condition will not create a precedent or diminish Council’s planning controls in relation to planned retreat for residential development in areas under potential threat from coastal erosion events.’

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. WOW I must have been the only person in the meeting that heard the Council staffer say that ‘to put a Title on the land they would need to close the railway first’. As in closing the whole 132km railway, which would require an Act of Parliament. That’s why they wouldn’t put a Title on the land. Why does everyone keep leaving out this important piece of information?

  2. And as for community consultation, the article also failed to mention that there was over 100 submissions – 29 against and 93 in favour!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

First observations of meltwater eating away at Antarctic ice shelves

Scientists who have witnessed Antarctic ice shelf decay are escalating concerns that rising air temperatures will push these frozen masses to unprecedented fractures.

MP Saffin clarifies claims around flood recovery

The office of Lismore Labor MP, Janelle Saffin, has made the claim that ‘No government, state or federal, has cut the funding promised for Resilient Homes and Resilient Land programs’ for 2022 flood recovery – see letters page 11.

Ballina council to send damning Richmond River report to ministers

A majority of Ballina Shire Councillors has voted to send a damning report on the Richmond River catchment to relevant state and federal ministers.

Who is responsible?

Teenage (stabbing) crime. Here I go again! Why are these kids allowed out of the house before their parents take stock of their kitchen...