‘Buried’ office-block proposal in Bangalow food-factory plan

Image from the Lismore Road food factory precinct DA.

Image from the Lismore Road food factory precinct DA.

Chris Dobney

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.’

Boutique brewery

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.

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2 responses to “‘Buried’ office-block proposal in Bangalow food-factory plan”

  1. Ean Jones says:

    This DA … [does not make clear enough facts that the community should know], so here they are;
    – This factory development is not a Food Hub it is a group of 8 separate buildings, the three largest are similar in size to Bunnings in Ballina.
    – In total the development, on regionally significant farmland, will have 9 acres under steel and tin.
    – 508 car parks will generate over 1000 truck and vehicle movements a day and according to Ardill Payne and Partners Traffic Impact Study (page 13) 40% will head north to Tweed Heads (and beyond)
    40% will head south to Ballina and east to Byron (up and down the main street) and 20% west to Lismore.
    – Contrary to statements made, the DA asks for a 1000sq.m restaurant cafe/retail outlet (noted as building C1 on the plan).
    The promise of employment and the subsequent threat of loss of local jobs simply does not hold water when the DA states specifically the it is envisaged the employees will most likely come from Lismore, Casino and Kyogle due to the unskilled nature of the work.
    We need to deal with the facts of this DA and not the distraction of the developer or prospective tenants.
    When the decision is made it will be based on the facts, not … promises by those few individuals who will gain at the Bangalow community’s expense.
    You can say No to this development.

  2. Sue says:

    This proposal is totally inappropriate for Bangalow. A small rural town, Bangalow is popular with visitors and locals for its rural setting, historic buildings, small boutique businesses and friendly local cafes. A close knit community and that has chosen to actively protect the town from inappropriate development such as this massive factory complex at its gateway. The Heritage Conservation Area of the town centre has been protected by statutory listing. Unfortunately this statutory protection doesn’t keep developers from pushing the envelope when it comes to exploiting our lovely town.
    So now we have the big factory complex Development Application. Blatantly out of character. And the decision taken out of the hands of our local council …no doubt they would refuse this monstrosity. There are developers who are determined to work the system, divide community with confusion — and push through …no one knows exactly what. The DA is sketchy.
    Brookfarm and Salumi most certainly could find a more appropriate and low impact site to locate their manufacturing. I respectfully request them to do so. This is prime agricultural land on Bangalow’s doorstep. We want to keep our farm land and our rural setting. We want to keep Bangalow picturesque and special.

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