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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Council as culpable as state over West Byron development

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Jo Faith, Newtown.

It was interesting to hear from a community member at the recent Byron Community Meeting addressing the proposed West Byron development that Terry Agnew (a partner in the development) stated words to the effect that due to the extraordinary earth works needed on the site that the houses will not fall in the ‘affordable category’.

In Sydney recently I learnt from an architect friend that the NSW Planning model addressing affordable housing DAs is riddled with insurmountable contradictions. A recent representation of concerned residents in Camperdown, Sydney, made representation to Sydney Council and the affordable housing DA was unanimously dismissed. Indeed, Randwick Council is also addressing the same deep concerns. The bottom line seems to be that the current affordable housing DAs are a developer’s ploy to enter the back door of the development game!

So one is left questioning whether this emotive situation has indeed been exploited by the current West Byron developers.

The inability of the West Byron developers to address and submit an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) and Social Impact Study (SIS) further raises the deepest of concerns. These were further compounded at last nights meeting with Dailan Pugh’s powerful West Byron presentation of the crude proposed mapping of water/drainage, destruction of koala and frog habitat, 180,000 metres of land fill (2000,000 truck loads), the erection of a wall, on Council land going down Ewingsdale Road.

Of great concern is the existing fact that the developer’s DA submission and subsequent works are yet to be fully presented. So, this places the development in the arena of ‘ad hoc’. Will the Byron community ever get the full picture before development commences or will the development be shrouded in secrecy? Another ploy used to avoid EIS and SIS utilised by developers.

It has been noted by the Byron community that the current majority Green council, lead by a centrist mayor, is silent when it comes to articulating the universally recognised Rights of Nature Principles and actions. Dailan Pugh is the lone environmental crusader. To my mind, considering the plight of Byron’s beautiful environment, this is very wrong.

There appears to have been no challenge by Byron Council to the NSW state planning authorities, who chose to alter environmental zoning, thus aiding West Byron developers.

This can hardly be surprising given the manner in which the Byron Council majority gave lip service to the community and the land at Brunswick to the state government to aid further development.

The Green mayor, does speak of ‘World’s Best Practice’ being applied to environmental concerns at West Byron. Alarm bells ring when such statements, without concrete content arise, given the fact that imperative Environment Impact Studies (EIS) and Social Impact Studies (SIS) have been dismissed from Public Interest.

Does World’s Best Practice mean upholding Earth Jurisprudence? A powerful global movement successfully mounting Rights of Nature cases.

Earth Jurisprudence is recognised and acknowledged by the United Nations. Aided by information offered by Julian Burnside Human Rights Lawyer, to return to the highest principles (when things are this bad we can only go higher) I offer the following, in the spirit of recognising that Byron is just one part of a global movement undergoing and bearing witness to the ascendancy of the profit motive and the irreversible demise of the Rights of Nature.

The United Nations addressing Earth Jurisprudence recognises that –

‘The United Nations and its members have focused on “sustainable development” as a way to address the world’s environmental problems. This does not go far enough.

The concept of sustainable development reinforces the idea that people must continuously and forever develop a finite Earth to achieve wellbeing. The term “sustainable” fails to slow this development race, and nature suffers as a result Nature is just not a source of capital to feed the economy, nature has rights we must respect.

….only a governance system that acknowledges our place in relation with, rather than dominant over, the natural world will address ongoing environmental devastation.’

In the current political Climate we have the right to ask ‘Does World’s best Practice include the rights of Nature in our governance systems?’…Recognition of a Global Movement upholding Earth Jurisprudence which places Earth Rights before an Anthropocentric world view. Acknowledging same Byron will be empowered and a voice for the rights of nature will be heard.

To overcome this current political struggle Crusaders for the Rights of Nature will arise: there is no other road to walk to save the environmental integrity of Byron.

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  1. It is not over yet everyone. You have 2 more days to submit your concerns to [email protected]

    Please DO IT !

    councillors unanimously rejected the DA and are writing a submission along those lines


    minutes are at


    more thoughts at



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