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Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Byron council GM to wrangle Cr Hunter’s DA

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Letters – 1 February 2023

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Abouchar honoured with Order of Australia

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Councillor Alan Hunter is taking council to court.
Councillor Alan Hunter is taking council to court.

The ongoing saga of Cr Alan Hunter’s development application for a self-storage facility on his property at the end of Pinegroves Road in Myocum continues as councillors in confidential session handed responsibility for the DA to general manager Ken Gainger.

Under the two-point motion moved by Cr Michael Lyon and seconded by mayor Simon Richardson the GM  can enter into consent orders and modify the development application or a s34 conciliation agreement subject to appropriate conditions to be finalised under delegation.

Local resident Graham Mathews told The Echo,‘The Pinegroves residents are somewhat concerned at the proposal to pass the responsibility for the Hunter matters to the GM.

‘The residents have objected to the development, the councillors have overwhelmingly objected to it – what’s to negotiate?

‘The worry is that the councillors will be able to resile from the nearly unanimous decision that they made last year by hand-balling the responsibility to the GM, whose interest will be more in settling the issue quickly and amicably rather than pursuing the interests of the residents or concerning himself with the setting of a dangerous precedent for the rural lands in this Shire.’

Cr Hunter declared a pecuniary interest and Paul Spooner declared a non-pecuniary interest in the matter and left the chamber.

In other motions all councillors voted that the Mullumbimby hospital site be reclassified as ‘operational’ rather than community land. The decision was primarily based around the need to satisfy leasing conditions for the Coolamon Villa nursing home. (See story page 1.)

However, Matthew O’Reilly, representing Community Alliance for Byron Shire, highlighted the fact that future councils could potentially sell off the land under this classification.

‘We have to bear in mind that the last council sold off land to meet the Fit For The Future targets,’ he said. ‘Just be aware of how we can put protections in place to secure it into the future.’

Again it was all in favour of the proposed addition of a second storey to the old ANZ bank in Mullumbimby to create a cafe and day spa. Deputy mayor Basil Cameron amended the staff recommendation to clarify that the ‘treatment rooms must not be used for any form of residential occupation or as tourist and visitor accommodation’ and that bicycle parking for both customers and the community be developed using part of the section 94 funds. 

Staff were able to confirm that the decorative ceiling and one of the safes would be retained.

Issues around lack of parking provisions were raised by Matthew O’Reilly who felt that they were not adequate, considering that there is already significant pressure on parking in the town.

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  1. Lot of fuss about nothing. There is already a storage facility there and on every visit into and away from the storage facility, I have yet to encounter another vehicle on that road. Heavily traffic-ed, certainly not, nor anything else to complain about that I can see.


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