A key opponent of the so-called Food Precinct planned for Lismore Road, Bangalow, says he believes there has been a coordinated campaign of support for the development, with ‘pro-forma’ submissions from people living outside the area, including one from a seven-year-old child.
Ean Jones has obtained copies of all the submissions from the first exhibition of the industrial estate’s Development Application (DA) last year by GIPA (freedom of information request).
He says that numbers are evenly balanced for and against and added that ‘of the supporting submissions only three were residents of Bangalow.’
‘Many were rote forms. There was even one pro forma submission from a seven-year-old,’ Mr Jones said.
In a campaign letter he advised objectors to ‘re-send your submission with a note expressing that the revised traffic plan changes nothing about your objection.’
‘In fact we believe it will open even more land to the west and south to industrial subdivision,’ he added.
Employment Lands Strategy
Mr Jones told Echonetdaily that even though the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) was the approval authority, Byron Shire Council staff may be ‘tempted to support the development because it could potentially solve a lot of problems for them.’
‘Council is due to draft an Employment Lands Strategy soon,’ he said.
‘Submissions are important as we believe the JRPP will hold a public meeting if there are sufficient submissions.
‘If you write a submission you will get a chance to speak at the public meeting if you want. Only people who have lodged submissions get the opportunity.
‘A public meeting will visually demonstrate to the JRPP that we don’t want this hideous industrial development in our village,’ he said.
‘With 504 car parks and 20 acres of factory space, this is not a food hub it is a major industrial estate by deception.
‘The DA asks for an “option to build 2-3 story office blocks” and its proposed “café and education space” will take business away from local Bangalow business and drive more tourist traffic flow through Bangalow.
‘The promise of local jobs is a mystery as the DA clearly states that the majority of employees will come from Lismore Casino and Kyogle,’ Mr Jones said.
Byron Council responds
A spokesperson for the Byron Shire Council confirmed that a development application for a rural industries food precinct at 201 Lismore Road, Bangalow is currently on re-exhibition for public comment until the 2 August 2017.
‘The application was originally exhibited last year with 77 submissions received with support for and against the development evenly split. A range of issues were raised in the submissions including flooding, traffic and access to the site from Lismore Road,’ the spokesperson said.
‘Further information has now been submitted by the applicant to address these issues, in particular traffic and access.
‘Byron Shire Council is now re-exhibiting the development application including the updated information, and members of the public are invited to make a submission on the proposed development.
‘Byron Shire Council staff will review all submissions received from both exhibitions as part of the assessment process.
‘Following the exhibition, an assessment report will be prepared and submitted to the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) for consideration and determination of the development application.
‘In accordance with the JRPP process all submissions received by the Council will be provided to the JRPP, and submitters will be able to address the JRPP at the Panel meeting directly.’