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Byron Shire
July 24, 2021

Brunswick foreshore revisited

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Cr Sarah Ndiaye, Byron Shire Council.

I saw Jan Barham’s article in The Echo in support of Byron Shire Council’s motion 9.3 on Brunswick Heads parkland and acknowledge all the points made; there’s been a lot of bad blood and great injustice. So why did I put forward a rescission motion?

I didn’t feel comfortable with the decision we made. The motion changed too much on the floor, and we didn’t discuss it or get legal or planning advice. I knew that it would have an adverse impact on our ability to negotiate the best outcome on the foreshore, especially for The Terrace.

Motion 9.3 was perceived by the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NSWCHPT) as a deemed refusal, putting them in a position where to continue to operate they would revert to the previously approved 2014 Plan of Management (PoM) – while highly unpopular they have ministerial approval for it.

People have worked for years to get certain crucial aspects of the PoM changed. The 10m setbacks, unfettered access along the foreshore, smaller footprint, fewer beds, cabins off most of the foreshore, public access to launching areas, boat ramps and any other gains the community has fought for, like public playgrounds and extra parking, were all in jeopardy.

My alternative proposal does not approve the current plans for The Terrace and seeks to continue to negotiate for a better outcome with community involvement, but we do allow for the current plans for Massey Greene and Ferry Reserve to go on exhibition.

Please look at the revised maps (council agenda p5–8), remember back to original plans with boardwalks, tiny foreshore paths (where they had them), limited, timed access, cabins all along the foreshore, boat ramps only accessible through a boom gate and all the other absurdity. Tell me this isn’t a whole lot better, and that’s because people like you cared, protested, lobbied, had input, emailed, called, researched and invested your time and energy – and it worked.

The bitter pill we have to swallow is that, under the Local Government Act 2005, Council is unable to grant approval or impose any condition of approval that the NSWCHPT objects to without the minister’s consent. To lose what we’ve gained with legal action, in this instance, would not be serving the community at all.

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  1. What appears to have been lost in this whole debate is DEMOCRACY. Yes, there have been local gains made but will they outstrip the future plans of the land grabbing agency that is the NSW Crown Holiday Holiday Parks Trust?

    A government website states that “Holiday Parks Trust was established in 2013 under the Crown Land Act 1989 to provided co-ordinated management of some of the States most iconic coastal inland Caravan Parks and Reserves. This includes 28 holiday parks on the North and South Coasts and 8 inland Parks which are valued approximately $200 million. The Trust employs approximately 150 staff and holds a number of leases and contracts. The Board of NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust are managed by a Board of 7 people recently appointed in 2015. This new Board are appointed until 2020”.

    This represents big business for the NSW Government. Earlier research reveals that NSWCHPT was established by National Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner in 2006, whose spokesperson stated “The truth is the Draft Plans do not remove any foreshore land from Public use and the parks are not being PRIVATISED’.

    If we address the current situation at Bruns and the proposed development of ‘structures’ we can see a direct violation of the original Charter of co-ordinated management. It is only natural that the community becomes concerned about the future of the Bruns given the manner in which development by incremental stealth is so politically operative these days.

    Is there a new Charter that articulates “development”..’structures” ..”privatising land”? The community has a democratic right to be informed.

    What was lost in the recent Council decision was Legal independence. In the rush to get the motion passed at Council the old technique of ‘spin and bulldozing’ the community was utilized to get the deal passed, Who gains? NSWCHPT naturally. The bigger picture is yet to come.

    Why the rush to push through this bigger land grab? Why the total dismissal of an independent legal point of view? Why should the Greens, who are meant to represent the community be so enfolded within the legal agenda set by the NSW State Government and the big business that is NSWCHPT? Why should the community hear that some folks on Council are tired of the issue?

    Is this because the NSW State Government is following its own ‘legal” advice. Because it claims that there is no recognition of Councils in the Australian Constitution” (Echo Feb. 22)

    If this is a legal “fact” then it is all the more reason why an alternative legal point of view was necessary, and will become NECESSARY IN THE FUTURE. Always wise to proceed with calm, patience and reasoned opinions about community/rate-payers rights.

    The NSW State appears to be trampling on Democracy and is utilising the Constitution to do same. Methinks this is very wrong!


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