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May 12, 2021

Colourful characters linked to north coast investments

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File photo of the Ibrahim brothers, from left, Sam, Michael and John.
File photo of the Ibrahim brothers, from left, Sam, Michael and John.

What do former ‘King of the Cross’ John Ibrahim, Gold Coast party boy Travers Beynon, aka, the Candyman, and north coast property developer Bart Elias all have in common?

Their names have all been linked this week to major investments in the region, including a macadamia farm on the outskirts of  Newybar and the proposed food-hub at Bangalow.

In a story that has set local tongues wagging, the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Pacific Blue Property Holdings, controlled by Mr Ibrahim’s financial controller Margaret Staltaro, paid $1.45 million for a macadamia nut farm on Hinterland Way, Newrybar last year.

Mr Ibrahim’s family are currently the subject of an Australian Federal Police investigation into drug and tobacco importation

Meanwhile, just up the road, Ibrahim’s property developer friend Bart Elias is linked to the controversial $20 million dollar food hub development on the outskirts of Bangalow, which the Byron Shire Council recently decided it would not support.

The food hub development will be discussed at a joint regional planning panel in Bangalow on Thursday.

The panel will be held from 4.30pm at the Mullumbimby Council Chambers and will be chaired by former Nationals MP Garry West.

As the estimated value exceeds $20m, Byron council will not be the determining authority and instead the proposal will be decided by the JRPP.

The ten ‘independent’JRPP’s across the state have an almost 100 per cent approval record – for more information visit www.planningpanels.nsw.gov.au.

The floor area proposed is 21,400m2, and would include three 5,000 square metre ‘Rural (Agricultural)’ industrial buildings which, ‘can be doubled in size to 10,000 square metres in later stages.’

Three rural industry buildings of 800 square metres are also proposed, as is a 1,000 square metre ‘food excellence facility’ which would house a restaurant/ take away cafe.

The day after Thursday’s hearing, Mr Elias will front Ballina Local Court over driving offences and an apprehended violence order linked to his divorce. He has pleaded not guilty.

And while he has been the face of the proposed Bangalow food hub, the company behind the development is owned and controlled by Allan Abraham, Mr Elias’ brother’s brother-in-law, and a Byron Bay tobacco store franchisee.

Mr Abraham’s FreeChoice store comes under the umbrella of the FreeChoice chain, controlled by the family of Mr Beynon, a prominent Gold Coast playboy known as the Candyman because of his lavish lifestyle.





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  1. This development is seeking permission to build 36,400m2 of factories not 21400m2 as detailed in this story.
    To put this disgraceful development in perspective it’s twice the size of Ballina Fair. This is not a cute little ‘Food Hub” as the developer and tenant want us to believe, this is a huge industrial complex by any measure. Imagine dropping not one but two Ballina Fairs on the outskirts of our village.

    Think about its 504 carparks and 20 acres under bitumen, concrete and steel you have a better idea of what this disgusting DA proposes. It’s arrogant and self-serving and puts developer and tenants greed ahead of our community.

    Bring on the JRPP meeting this Thursday and let’s hear truth told in public and without fear of legal threat.

    Ean Jones

  2. It seems the Byron whisperers are succeeding with innuendo – did the Echo check with Chase Investments, owners of the Bangalow food development and funded by Chase Property through the NAB?

    Did the Echo check with the food producers involved in this project before running with this story?
    They are all industry award winning folk who just want a base to improve service and facilities.. They are supported by farmers and producers throughout the region and will bring further tourism to the Bangalow village through which you could presently shoot a cannon after 3pm.

    Tarring with a verbal brush is not what The Echo should be doing – please editors check as I am reliably informed that there is no business relationship between the scurrulious Ibrahims’ and Elias

    • Hey Rea – u might want to check your facts. There is a relationship between Elias, Ibrahim and Pacific Farms. You will find Mr Elias is ‘the face’ of his businesses up here.

  3. Dear Rea,

    I see your clients at the Northern Rivers Food Organisation have given you an inside scoop on their ambitions.

    So they are not just seeking to expand production capability but also to set up a major Tourist Facility outside Bangalow.

    Thanks for sharing, this just gets better!

    I am confused though……this Development is on the wrong side of Bangalow, so all your lovely Tourists will actually be adding to the local congestion by driving through the town centre and right past the local hard working businesses??

    So your cannon may actually be able to start firing earlier than 3pm……

    I wonder if you or your friends checked personally with the local community on their views? If you had cared to do so you would likely find that most support their business success and supported the idea of a ‘Food Hub’ if developed in an appropriate location (ie on Industrial zoned land with direct connection to the M1?)

    But all have been left puzzled as why this is seen as the best and most greatest of locations, the last island of development possibility in the lucky country.

    I see people scratch their heads as to why Bangalow must be sacrificed when clearly there are other options.

    If they simply want a ‘base to improves services’ then how lucky they are, there are multiple options available within 20 minutes drive.

    Or maybe you can share with us another scoop, are their other reasons?

  4. The Bangalow community both residents and businesses alike have resoundingly said a loud and clear NO to this development. 1,800 plus signatures on both change.org and written hard copy petitions plus over 300 submissions objecting says it all. Simply put the sheer size and scale and location of this industrial development on the wrong side of town with the extra 2,000 vehicle movements per day will clog our streets, will industrialise our western edge of town.
    The “Food Hub” is a great idea but not on prime agricultural land without direct access to arterial roads.
    We call this place home our lovely rural village and we will fight to protect it.


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