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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Byron councillor’s self-storage development refused

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Byron Shire Councillor Alan Hunter. Photo Hans Lovejoy
Byron Shire Councillor Alan Hunter has had a DA to expand his controversial self-storage unit on a quiet country road rejected. Photo Hans Lovejoy

A proposal for a controversial large self-storage facility on a short road in Myocum by Byron Cr Alan Hunter was rejected at last Thursday’s council meeting.

Fellow councillors unanimously voted against the plans, despite it being supported by staff.

Cr Paul Spooner declared a non-pecuniary conflict of interest, owing to his ‘having a close working relationship with Cr Hunter.’ Both Crs Hunter and Spooner left the room when the vote was cast. 

Cr Jan Hackett was absent.

The grounds for rejection – pursuant to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 – included that the ‘development is likely to result in adverse environmental and social impacts as a result of increased traffic generation.’

Adverse environmental and social impacts were also listed as reasons for refusal, as was the land use being ‘inconsistent with the character and amenity of the locality.’

Additionally, a ‘current trial approval is yet to lapse and a review of compliance with conditions imposed yet to be undertaken.’

Another motion by mayor Simon Richardson, which was unanimously supported, will ask staff to review the inclusion of ‘road transport terminal’ in the Local Environment Plan (LEP).

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  1. I note the refusal of the Hunters’ most recent DA at the Council Meeting last Thursday and the accompanying embarrassing ventilation of an issue concerning the rental of a studio apartment on the Pinegroves Road property for which an Approval appears to have been overlooked. This, unfortunately for the hapless Councillor, coincided with the revelation that a breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct had occurred which concerned an unauthorised site inspection of a property belonging to a couple who had been vociferously objecting to his recent DA. This convergence of events leads me to ask whether Councillor Hunter’s position on Council is still tenable. It is not so much the costs associated with these serial Development Applications going back to 2009 – legal, administrative and, now, the fees paid to an independent consultant for the latest 22 page Report – it is, more worryingly, his tenuous connection with the truth that runs right through this whole saga and the abandonment by a member of Council of the very ratepayers, his closest neighbours, who he has been elected to represent in that forum. It is the writer’s considered view that, having had his latest plans for a mega-mini-storage facility resoundingly rebuffed by his contemporaries, he really has only two options:

    If he is, indeed, determined to pursue this development he should resign from Council and do so as a private citizen, taking his chances with the planning and compliance processes as the rest of us do.
    Alternatively, If he intends to remain a Councillor for the rest of his term he should accept the decision of the majority in this matter, withdraw this DA, clean up his act, cease all unauthorised activities on his property and turn his attention to renewing (if he is entitled to) the Approval for his existing storage facility which expires in the second half of 2017.
    It is not pompous to suggest that we are entitled to expect a standard of behaviour from our elected representatives which is above reproach and which does not embarrass and reflect adversely on the other Councillors and the initiative and hard work that they bring to the forum. At present, I have to say, this particular individual is falling far short of that standard.

    Lift your game, Alan, or go, get a job elsewhere !


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