19.3 C
Byron Shire
May 29, 2022

West Byron not in the public interest: council staff

Latest News

Primex Sustainable Farming and Primary Industries Expo new date confirmed

After being postponed due to the flooding and ongoing wet weather the 2022 Primex Sustainable Farming and Primary Industries Expo and will now go ahead on November 10–12.

Other News

Up to five times the average rainfall during 2022 in some areas says BOM

The formal record of the extreme rainfall and flooding was released today by the Bureau of Meteorology with some areas of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales having five times their monthly average of rain. 

Highrise in Byron Shire?

In 1990 a new LEP (Local Environment Plan) was approved in Byron Shire that limited commercial buildings to three...

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Another Day in Hope Purgatory

Politics is a phenomenal experience. To work harder than you thought possible, to put yourself so absolutely in the public domain full of hope and belief. Then to ask for judgement. It’s high stakes. A kind of ethical and philosophical extreme sport.

Local author’s first children’s book weaves a magical tale

After writing three successful novels for adults, local author Sarah Armstrong could have been forgiven for staying on the same path with her fourth offering.

Frida’s Field: nose-to-tail lunch

On Saturday 4 June, Frida’s Field will pay homage to their holistically-reared Angus-Wagyu cattle by hosting a special five-course...

A gold star campaign and a result full of hope

It’s not surprising that Mandy Nolan got so many primary votes at Saturday’s election for the seat of Richmond – her campaign has been relentless and her volunteers all stellar.

Villa World's plan for their section of West Byron. Photo supplied.
Villa World’s plan for their section of West Byron. Photo supplied.

An extraordinary Council meeting to discuss the West Byron development has been called for Thursday July 6 from 4pm at the Station Street chambers in Mullumbimby.

It comes as residents and some councillors met Monday night at the Byron Community Centre to work out a strategy against.

The Echo understands their proposal includes a satirical West Byron advertising campaign.

A detailed report by senior Council staff member Shannon Burt, who heads the Sustainable Environment and Economy department, has concluded that the development, as presented, is not in the public interest.

The land is located on a large parcel of land opposite the industrial estate on Ewingsdale Road, and has been the subject of strong public opposition over many years owing to environmental and traffic factors.

Foisted development

Despite that opposition, state government bureaucrats and the planning minister have recently forced the proposal through on behalf of the developers. This includes overriding and amending planning policies.   

Particular issues that face the development according to Ms Burt are, ‘traffic and biodiversity,’ which, ‘have the potential to result in significant environmental and social impacts.’

Queensland-based company Villa World, in partnership with Sydney-based developer Terry Agnew, are aiming to subdivide the first section into 290 lots that will provide 330 to 360 dwellings.

It is expected to be the largest suburban project for Byron Shire in a generation.

While Byron Shire Council is the consent authority, the Northern Region Joint Planning Panel (JRPP) has the function of determining the application owing to the cost of construction exceeding $20m.

In Ms Burt’s report, she suggests Council request ‘the JRPP to hold a public briefing meeting after the exhibition has ended, and invite any person who made a submission to present, before the assessment report is finalised.’

Throughout her report, Ms Burt points to planning inconsistencies, including ‘consent has not been provided for most of the lots associated with the later stages.’

She says there is no owners’ consent for works on Crown Land and Council-maintained road reserve on Melaleuca Drive.

The application contains detailed information regarding the stage-one component of the application, she writes, ‘but no information is provided to enable a proper assessment of the concept plan for the whole of the development.’

Ms Burt says that given Council has recently adopted the West Byron DCP, ‘The applicants could, if they chose, now withdraw the current staged DA application and resubmit the stage-one component only. At this time, they have not done so.’

Massive fill required

Additionally a total of 168,800m3 of fill will need to be imported for the stage-one development and the application indicates, ‘that fill material will be obtained from local quarries.’

She writes, ‘No information is provided to indicate that the required quantities are available locally in the timeframes required, and no information regarding numbers of trucks, haul routes or other potential impacts of bringing that quantity of fill to the site.’

There is also ‘no indication given for total fill amount for overall concept plan.’

Ms Burt also disputes the developer’s assessment report that concludes that a Koala Management Plan (KPoM) is not required.

No koala plan

She says, ‘Each of the areas of vegetation should be looked at individually to determine whether there is more than 15 per cent of koala food trees in that stand of vegetation.’

As for biobanking, which is the removal of sensitive and rare ecological areas in exchange for ‘credits’, Ms Burt says there is ‘no agreement in place to identify where and how those credits will be provided’.

Byron Residents’ Group spokesperson and councillor Cate Coorey is calling on residents to get involved and come to Thursday’s meeting.

She said, ‘We have to let Council and the JRPP know what the community thinks about this ugly, overdeveloped suburbia being dumped on this sensitive site.’

The West Byron DA is on exhibition until July 12 and is available at http://bit.ly/2taUKg2.

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. Commercial Dump Trucks carry between 7.6-10 cubic meters of soil. Accordingly, by my back of envelope calculation, looking at roughly 20,000 truck loads to bring fill to West Byron site. That’s 40,000 return trips. Echo should ask Council Engineers to do a more accurate calculation.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Reasons to be cheerful

After nine long years of being led by the least among us, Australia’s future feels optimistic. Thanks, Western Australia, you were instrumental in booting those numpties out! 

Regrets for treatment of Wardell CORE?

After Ballina Council's recent decision, at its Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting, to effectively evict the Wardell Community Organised Resilience Effort (CORE) from the War Memorial Hall, in mid-flood recovery, some were having second thoughts at their Ordinary Meeting yesterday.

Keep your eyes and ears open for Albert’s Lyrebird

Tweed Council is asking that you put your best bird listening ears on this June and capture the sounds of a rare bird.

Progress at Ross Lane?

The perennial question 'is Ross Lane open?' edged closer to an answer yesterday, with Ballina Council discussing a range of options to solve the flooding problem which regularly cuts off Lennox's main access to the west. Ross Lane has been closed again this week.