Simon Field, Bangalow
I am a resident of Bangalow shuddering at the thought of a $36 million factory development which will change our town and community forever. I feel compelled to raise the questions;
Do the prospective tenants noted in the development application (DA) – Brookfarm, Byron Bay Cookie Co, Salumi, and the Ginger Necktar Company – feel they have a social licence for this industrial development and what legacy are they looking to leave?
These are great businesses which I admire and support. Their success appears closely integrated with Byron shire’s environmental and community spirit and the ‘Byron Bay’ brand. I wonder if they are aware of the deep-rooted community concern towards the carving of major industrial buildings into rural farm land, threatening endangered species, and forcing high volumes of traffic through a heritage town.
Does this development really fit their brand aspirations and core business values?
I urge the prospective tenants to stand back and consider the pristine location. The rolling fields represent important farm land next to a buoyant, heritage, family focused village. The factories will be segregated from their main transportation link (the M1) by our school, our local businesses who relying on our peaceful heritage amenity, and our hundreds of homes inhabited by people who have settled and created fulfilling lives in Bangalow.
The original plan was valued at a mere $23m, it is now valued at over $36m. There is no amount of solar panels, green washed fencing or promise of new trees which can disguise such immense industrial buildings or hide the increased volumes of rumbling trucks and cars.
Since the initial DA in 2016 it appears council and state agencies all have expressed significant concern that the DA and reports were inadequate. The land zoning is rural, there is no comprehensive assessment of the traffic impact on the centre of Bangalow, nor any decent ecological assessment on the impact on native and threatened species including Koalas.
A Change.Org petition was started up opposing this development, this is now verging on 800 signatures and growing, plus another ‘paper’ petition signed with over 1000 signatures.
The prospective tenants are in a position to make great decisions which effect many people. I encourage these businesses to place themselves as a member of our community with a true environmental and social conscience. I ask them to think why are they in the Byron shire, and broaden their view away from just business growth to consider the families and people who call Bangalow home, and who aspire to work and raise children in a safe supportive environment, one closely connected to the rural community. In this crazy world, surely it’s our responsibility to foster and protect such positive social ideals.
What are we teaching the next generation when we say it’s OK to build such large industrial buildings on farm land, when money is more important than unique ecology and protected wildlife, when encouraging major traffic through a humble heritage town is reasonable?
Together, as a community, council and business leaders, can’t we find a better narrative to inspire our children?