Opponents of a plan to house a 20-acre food-processing precinct on rural land at the fringes of Bangalow say they have uncovered a ‘buried’ option to build a two- to three-storey office block on the site.
The development application (DA) , which has split the town and its chamber of commerce, has been variously referred to as a ‘food hub’ and a ‘food collective’ by its proponents but would in fact be one of the largest industrial sites in Byron Shire, dwarfing the nearby Bangalow industrial estate.
Salumi Australia and Brookfarm have already put their hands up to be tenants in the planned Lismore Road estate, with Byron Bay Cookies a likely third contender.
The $23 million price tag means that the DA will avoid being decided by Byron Shire Council and will instead go to the state government to determine.
Now a vocal opponent, who launched a petition against the DA, says she has uncovered a plan to include offices as well as three massive food-processing plants on the site.
‘Deep within the 500-page DA for this monstrosity lies indications of just how large this development can be – this is RU1 zoned land for farming yet as this screenshot from the actual DA [pictured above] shows they are also talking about two- to three-storey office blocks,’ Linda Sparrow has written on the petition website.
‘How can the single largest development in Bangalow be a proposed massive industrial factory development on farmland 500 metres from residential land in a heritage village?
‘There is a real fear in our community that this development is only the start of major ambitions of the developer in this area.’
And Ms Sparrow’s fears may yet be realised as the developer, Bart Elias, is currently touting the creation of a boutique brewery and reception centre on land that he owns in Friday Hut Road, Brooklet.
Mr Elias has been personally visiting his neighbours talking up the idea.
Plans for this new development have yet to go before Ballina Council but coincidentally contractors are currently undertaking major kerb and guttering works on a section of Friday Hut Road adjoining his property.
Mr Elias is no stranger to controversy in Bangalow, after his plans for shops and shop-top-housing in sleepy Station Street were knocked back by the council in 2014, a position that was later upheld by the Land and Environment Court.