20.4 C
Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

NSW planning dept amends LEP to suit West Byron developers

Latest News

Tweed Council to write to government for more housing support

With a shortage of affordable housing in most areas of the Far North Coast, it is not surprising that Tweed is also feeling the pinch and Council has declared a housing emergency in the area owing to a lack of availability and affordability.

Other News

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Tony Barry, Ben Chifley and FD’s Four Freedoms

Local actor-vist, Tony Barry, has taken on a lot since he moved to the Northern Rivers, and though cancer took one of his legs, Tony still manages to put in the hard yards for social, environmental and human rights causes.

Byron Drag Racers World Record

The local AAA Racing motorcycle team have set a new world record in 100cc class, as well as a top national speed in 50cc class at the recent Australian Speed Week held at Salt Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

Pickleball taking off in Ballina

Combining elements of tennis, badminton and table tennis, pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the USA. Recently the 'Ballina Picklers' travelled to Sydney to compete in the NSW Pickleball Championship Open.

Byron Bay wants Byron Baes to back off

Faster than speeding reality TV producer, members of the Byron community have swiftly mounted a multi-pronged attack against the proposed ‘influencer’ based Netflix show Byron Baes.

Federal Government grants for infrastructure improvements – Tweed

Tweed Shire Council today announced more than $3.75 million in Federal Government grants for 10 infrastructure projects in the area.

The NSW department of planning has overridden the Byron Shire Council's LEP to allow developers to use environment zones to site infastructure such as stormwater drainage, water and sewer reticulation and earthworks. Image NSW Planning
The NSW department of planning has overridden the Byron Shire Council’s LEP to allow developers to use environment zones to site infastructure such as stormwater drainage, water and sewer reticulation and earthworks. Image NSW Planning

Massive land release area on Ewingsdale Road limps closer to the finishing line after more state govt interference

Hans Lovejoy

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment continues to act as a propaganda public relations unit for West Byron developers, with a press release last week again spruiking one of the largest urban and commercial land release areas in a generation on sensitive wetlands.

And the message from deputy secretary of planning services Marcus Ray appeared conflicted, saying ‘It’s important to deliver the right types of housing needed in appropriate areas… while protecting the natural environment the area is known for.’

With the department amending Byron Shire Council’s Local Environment Plan (LEP) and overriding Council, Ray said the ‘delivery of up to 1,100 new homes… is a step closer following the finalisation of changes to the West Byron Urban Release Area.’

Yet that decision comes without Council consent and, according to last year’s election, does not reflect the wishes of the majority of the community.

Many residents had long campaigned against developing the West Byron area, with numerous protests and petitions over the years.

An overwhelmingly left- leaning council majority was elected in September 2016 after the previous council’s slim majority led a pro-development agenda.

The previous slim council majority was only possible after a Greens councillor defected and voted to ask the then-planning minister to approve West Byron ‘to her satisfaction.’

Developer’s interests first

One resident who led the charge against West Byron is now a councillor: Cate Coorey.

She told The Echo, ‘These enforced changes to our LEP are another example of the department of planning putting developer interests first and ignoring Council, the people of Byron and serious environmental factors.’

‘One of our first acts as a council was to disallow major infrastructure in areas that were zoned environmental at West Byron.’

‘The department has now decreed that developers are allowed to put their infrastructure into the environmental zones so they don’t have to lose any valuable housing areas.

‘This site was so poorly zoned in the first place and the zoning did not take into account these essential services. The department’s idea of solving their problem is to make it ours by allowing stormwater drainage, water and sewer reticulation and earthworks in both environmental conservation (‘E2’) and environmental management (‘E3’) zones.

‘Clearly an environmental zone means nothing to this government. 

‘The department seems content to obliterate nature if a developer wants it.

‘The department seems to view West Byron as if it were a greenfield site in Western Sydney. Added to the glaring traffic problems posed by 1,000-plus dwellings on the site, we also have the issues of a critically endangered frog habitat, core koala habitat and acid sulfate soil that are still ignored. 

No environmental zones since 2012

‘It should be remembered that the minister for planning intervened in 2012 to stop Byron Shire creating proposed environmental zones.

‘We have had no environmental zones since then.

‘In 2014 when the minister rezoned West Byron for intensive development, it was the only place in the whole shire that did have E-zones; now that means nothing since we have been told that we have to have major development in them.

‘Council is now going through the process of reviewing which of the environment zones it created back in 1988 it will be able to retain under the new rules, as it seems that none of the new ones we proposed will ever be allowed to be created. 

‘Now the new minister is setting the precedent that even if we can one day create our own environmental zones they will be next to useless as this West Byron decision means you can build in them.’

For further information on the decision see the proposal details on the DoPE website.

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. Council should have at least an actionable vision of growth that allows for best practice urban & community landscapes. The NSW STATE GOVERNMENT response is one of a reaction of NO PLANNING or vision statement of town landing & urban landscapes. In response to a crying need for housing both rental & ownership this is what happens. Better a council that takes the initiative and has a vision of BEST PRACTICE town planning & urban Landscapes than be perceived to be anti anti everything. Council planning over the last 20 years have resulted on bloated house & rental values & a treasure for the armchair gurus & greens. I’m afraid many would love to live here but it has become unaffordable to many. Historical practice of being too restrictive have resulted in a different form of elitism of the comfortable greens who basically do not want to share. Henceforth any ideas of refining & expanding housing is usually met with a very vocal minority who are against. Now we have this logjam of needs for rentals & housing! Please develop a PROACTIVE VISION & model of the best practice urban & community development & let it be an inspiration to others.

  2. Yeah Bob, whatever. Do you understand the concept of the life sustaining biosphere. It seems not as you are advocating the destruction of essential environmental areas. The life sustaining biosphere supports humans too.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Simon Richardson steps down as Byron Shire Mayor

In an eventful day for Byron Shire Council, pot-stirrer Fast Buck$ was ejected from the council chambers yesterday and later Cr Simon Richardson announced that he will be stepping down as mayor from the end of next week.

Pay parking for Lennox Head?

Yesterday's Ballina Shire Council meeting saw councillors raise the spectre of paid parking at Lennox Head, and possibly elsewhere in the shire.

They will not be forgotten…

In the wake of the pandemic restrictions, ANZAC Day will be commemorated in a COVID safe fashion and some areas will ask residents to...

East Ballina Lions desperately needs new members

East Ballina Lions Club has given over thirty years of service to numerous community programs and initiatives, but if it doesn't get more members soon, it will have to close.