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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

Mayor and Cr Ndiaye dismissive of community over Bruns

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Private developers must be salivating and wanting to know how does NSW Crown Holiday Parks (NSWCHPT) have so much good faith with Byron councillors?

On 14 December, they gave them a three-year approval to operate (ATO) for both Massey Greene and Ferry Reserve caravan parks before their concept Plans of Management (POM), otherwise known as development plans, have gone on public exhibition or approved by the Minister.

This is akin to giving developers the go ahead with their development wish list before it is approved.

Led by Cr Sarah Ndiaye and backed by mayor Simon Richardson, the audio on Item 13.10 is telling of their disengagement from the community.

At stake in these parks, but stated by Cr Ndiaye, as ‘wasn’t a whole lot of issues over these two parks’ were the following:

  1. a) the setback from the top of the riverbank along the length of the northern boundary of Massey Greene to any built structure permanent or otherwise;
  2. b) approx 50% of the developer’s 3,171sqm “Public Foreshore – riverfront public open space” goes under water;
  3. c) the developer’s intention to acquire 1,300sqm of Council’s road reserve along Tweed Street and add this to its operational area.  Nothing in the concept POM references any compensation to Council for adding an area equivalent to 20 short term sites to its commercial operation. Nor is there any acknowledgement that it gives advantage to the developer by relocating the starting point for measuring the 10m setback from the top of the rock wall over a road reserve on the east of Massy Greene;
  4. d) acknowledge what is known by senior Crown Lands officers involved in the Brunswick Heads’ Boat Harbour Master plan , that NSWCHPT doesn’t have the physical space for the proposed Harbour Edge Rehabilitation on the western side of Massy Greene unless it is prepared to give back to the public part of Lot 7005, and at Ferry:
  5. e) the intended loss of the foreshore parkland
  6. f) ‘privatising’ by default the public boat ramp, and
  7. g) rehabilitation of the koala wildlife corridor along the foreshore.

Would private developers be given equivalent to an ‘Occupancy Certificate’ if substantive issues were unresolved? And here we were dealing with Council giving over invaluable public assets to NSWCHPT’s commercial operation!   Instead, Cr Ndiaye’s position was ‘ it would be great if we could save our energy for debate on other things’.

The aforementioned issues were dismissed by mayor Richardson in his utterance,”…there are those that will simply oppose every aspect of this until it is finally done, every aspect of any negotiation on any development that North Coast Holiday Parks will do, will be resisted and that can be deserved or undeserved. I don’t want to comment on that…..”

Having dismissed community concerns , I last saw Crs Ndiaye and Richardson practising their ‘walking on water skills’ in preparation of using the developer’s ‘riverfront public open space’ at Massey Greene.

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads

 

 


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13 COMMENTS

  1. This councillor needs to be closely watched she believes her own rhetoric and hears nothing from the community.
    She has blindly followed mayor Simon in all of his follies so far but with his increasingly tarnished profile it may be soon that he is following her, especially now this puppy has lost his master.
    There is a certain whiff of Roses here as I believe Cr Ndiaye is reportedly only in the greens because the ALP did not want her.

  2. Some councillors seemed equally dismissive of a question of staff application of planning regulations (report 13.5) seeming to see the issue as a spat between neighbours about someone not liking someone’s choice of house colour. It all seemed a bit too trivial for their loftier agendae. This was despite Basil Cameron eloquently explaining the wider significance of issues of heritage, regulation and the importance of changing the regulation if you don’t agree with its application.

    The failure to see the importance of heritage value as an issue worthy of debate is a surprising turn for a green Council when I thought heritage conservation was part of their agenda.

    I think 13.5 is about a weighty issue but am willing to concede that there are much meatier issues in the spheres of state and federal politics than those that at times come before Council. The trouble with dismissiveness and saving energy for other issues is that councillors need to appreciate that constituents will take their concerns to whichever level of government is most relevant. There is nothing wrong with councillors using their stint as a stepping stone to ‘higher’ office (or tackling national issues) but while in council they have an obligation to take their role seriously, listen to the concerns of their constituents and give each issue the deliberation it deserves. The outcome can quite profoundly affect the lives of groups and individuals.

    I have a suggestion though for the councillors who want some action on an issue of national significance that also relates to core business. Why don’t they join the other progressive councils in boycotting ceremonies and celebrations on January 26.

  3. I like a fiesty debate on issues but when the debate entails schoolyard bullying and puerile name calling it becomes demeaning.for all concerned.

    Chris Cooney
    Convenor Byron Greens

  4. Tom Tabbart what a load of childish rot. There’s no substance to your claims and ever since you didn’t get the spot you wanted in the preselection you’ve been acting like a petulant child. Grow up, be the useful mentor you could be or just stay out of it. You do yourself, the Greens and the community an absolute disservice the way you carry on. Shame on you.

  5. Well said Sarah, the ex Council Greens, and their supporters, are happy to support anyone who blindly follows their tune, but look out anyone who dares think for themselves and does the right thing for the Community, as Sarah and Simon have done. Grow up indeed!

      • Well said Gigi. Inherent in the issues relating specifically to the Terrace caravan park is the reinstatement of the foreshore walkway along Simpson’s Creek. Geoffrey Suthon, lives on the foreshore and bought in in full knowledge, and admitted in public access when questioned by Cr Di Woods, that he was advised he could be expected to relocate off the foreshore. Perhaps that is why he supports the unconscionable behaviour of Crs Ndiaye and Richardson in relation to their decisions?

  6. The FACT remains Bruns Caravan park’s commercial activity encroached onto adjoining road reserve and crown lands in all three parks and obstructed public access along the riverbank in Terrace Park. The community objected when these activities occurred over 20 years ago and worked with successive Councils and Crown Lands (in its various guises and with regular churning of staff) and managed to hang on to 3 specific areas at Ferry foreshore, Lot 7005 adjoining the Boat Harbour and the protected Coastal Cypress pines in the Sth Section of Terrace Park.

    As the responsible land manager BSC consistently requested the reinstatement of foreshore access in Terrace Park and refused to provide the required permission for Crown Lands non -compliant activities on these high value, vulnerable foreshore lands.

    Yet with only a few months on Council Sarah Ndiaye deemed herself the new expert on Bruns Parks and put up a rescission motion last May, with Mayor Simon Richardson’s support, that gave away public lands valued at over $3 million. Green Councillor’s recent approval of new license conditions provides the legal approval for park operations on this long contested land.

    What did the community get in exchange is yet to be determined. The latest plans (included in BSC papers) have not been exhibited for public consultation and failed to include the promised 10m setback along the foreshore in Massy Greene, nor the relocation of non-compliant dwellings (including Geoffrey Suthons) obstructing the foreshore in Terrace Park. Commercial activity will be permitted amidst the protected Coastal Cypress Pines in the southern area of Terrace Park. Ferry foreshore will not be retained for public recreation, and the wildlife corridor will not be rehabilitated despite being a requirement for the RTA following the Pacific Hwy upgrade. Lot 7005 will be a new cabin precinct within Massey Green and access to the public boat ramp and yacht precinct will rely on a narrow one-way road. New cabins will also be permitted along the rock wall and road reserve lands along the eastern boundary of Massey Greene instead of additional public car parking as previously required.

    It’s an appalling outcome for the community and even worse that it was endorsed by Green Councillors. Cr. Ndiaye can bleat about infantile behaviour, but her performance as the handmaiden for NSWCHPT has been astounding and insulting to all those hardworking community members and previous Councillors who fought so long to protect this public foreshore land from commercial activity.

  7. Two facts you ignore Michele:1: You were present at the Park meeting arranged and chaired by Simon Richardson several months ago, attended by community representatives, Councillors, Park management and myself as a residents representative. Although you attended uninvited, and interrupted repeatedly, you would have heard me say the residents, myself included, had agreed to be moved off the foreshore. You would also have heard the Park managements commitment to move said residents.
    2: You were also present at the Council meeting where the decision to grant the Parks a 3 year license was voted on. 6 out of the 9 Councillors present voted in favour of this resolution, not just Cr Ndiaye and Mayor Richardson. Those present saw the wisdom of how ending this dispute would benefit the Bruns community. My observation at that meeting was that those Councillors who voted against the motion did so for their own political gain, not for the Community.

  8. Geoffrey Suthon needs to clarify what he means by “the residents, myself included, had agreed to be moved off the foreshore.” We are well aware that he bought into the Terrace on the full understanding that he could be expected to relocate. This Geoffrey admitted to in public access in Chambers when asked by Cr Di Woods had he been advised by Council of this relocation.

    We are also aware that at the meeting ‘chaired’ by Simon Richardson, that NSWCHPT made it abundantly clear they would not be able to re-instate the 10m setback from the top of the riverbank in front of some long term tenants. From memory I recall the number of 9 dwellings been mentioned. Instead, the setback would be reduced to up to 3m. Now, the smoke and mirrors comes into play, Many of the existing dwellings do no comply with the mandatory 3m setback and have to be ‘relocated’. This is NOT the relocation of a 10m setback that has been the long term intent of reinstating an unfettered public walkway and buffer zone along Simpson’s Creek. Geoffrey needs to clarify what he means by ‘agreed to be moved off the foreshore’. Is it a 3m setback or is he stating that he and other residents are agreeable to being relocated in the long term residents’ precinct well away from the foreshore?

    As for Geoffrey’s comments on the meeting 29 June 2017 with NSWCHPT, it was an abysmal demonstration of the partiality of the Mayor. His performance as a chairperson was appalling. Critical questions were censored. I can vouch that the questions been asked both by myself and Michele Grant gave a clear indication that we were both very intimate with the issues relating to the Terrace!

    Geoffrey, Michele definitely was NOT present on the 14.12.17 when Cr Ndiaye and Richardson pushed through the amendment to grant a 3 year Approval to Operate for Massy Greene and Ferry. The Councillors voting against the license were representing the community’s long held position. If this is what you meant by ‘political gain’ then the other Councillors were not representing the community.

    I suspect Geoffrey has not understood the significance of the 3 year license. In the past, Council has granted interim ATOs, given 1 year ATOs and intended to give an ATO. But the determination of Ndiaye and Richardson to support NSWCHPT didn’t even acknowledge these options. Instead, their capitulation to NSWCHPT is appalling, particularly in light of pending changes to the Local Government Act and the loss of Council’s s68 licensing power.

    By the tone of Geoffreys’ comment he is supportive of Council’s resolution of the 14.12.17 to give a 3 year ATO. This been the case, and given the substantive information in my letter to the Echo, he is invited to dispute its content which was the basis of opposing the ATO.

  9. Geoffrey, Michele was NOT at the Council meeting for the appalling Resolution on the 14.12.17. As for the meeting ‘chaired’ by Mayor Simon Richardson, who censored highly relevant and critical questions from Michele, it was an appalling meeting.

    I would think a lot of people following this issue would be aware that you bought a lease on the foreshore at the Terrace on the explicit understanding you would be relocated, a fact that you admitted to in public access when questioned by then Cr Diane Woods and to which I witnessed your answer, “Yes”.

    What I would now ask you to clarify when you say ‘had agreed to be moved off the foreshore’ is whether your relocation is
    (a) to be relocated into the permanent tenant precinct well away from the foreshore OR

    (b) relocated to provide less then the Trust’s promised 10m from the top of the riverbank

    People following this issue would understand that the Mayor Simon Richardson’s and Cr Sarah Ndiaye’s lauded 10m setback has not been honoured by the Trust in front of, I recall 9 permanent residents on the Simpson’s Creek foreshroe. Instead, the yet to be reinstated walkway will narrow to 3m, the legislatively required buffer zone. Failure to provide the buffer zone is an issue of non-compliance!

    In the southern area of the Terrace, the lauded 10m setback has been reduced to 7m thus adding about 540sqm to the operational area of the caravan park.

  10. Dear Editor, Councilors and Citizens. Concerned citizens familiar with the issues around Massey Greene, and there are hundreds of us, have been calling for the ‘negotiated’ return of all or much of the land known as LOT 7005 adjacent to Massey Greene since the 1990’s. Concerned folk were lobbying Council, the then managers on this. Since about 2006 It’s been the State Government Corperation. LOT 7005 next to Massye Greene was gazetted in 2006 and of note is the following cut and paste from the Govermnment Gazett on this land. In it, we do not see the words ”for the purpose of caravan and camping” attached to this gazetted reserve. What it does say is for “access and public requirements, rural services, tourism purposes and environmental and heritage conservation” *(see notes)

    Top of the list of “issues” around Massey Greene in the Crowns own PoM of 2014, with 47 public submissions being almost double any other submissions was “PoM 1, Issue: “Remove all sites from western end of holiday park (public park land) to increase public open space adjacent to boat harbour” This issue, being the holiday parks spilling outside operational boundaries here, is and was not addressed. The Trust proposal to this number one issue, was a refusal to rectify or negotiate in any way. “No amendment is proposed.”.
    Those 47 submissions, almost double any other, on this issue alone and virtually all from other than the six or seven individuals that some councillors continually find difficult to deal with.
    We are saddled with a corperate body here, not from here and like many on Council, with little idea of the significance or history of these crown lands to the public, telling us that in spite of the Crown Lands guidelines for Trust managers of our land to not only engage and listen to local knowledge but to also work with the public, they are hell bent on taking this land..
    This is not democracy in action, but theft and bullying buy State Corp., who are ignoring the public consultation process competely.
    SO WHAT SAY THE? Do we still not understand what so many have been on about and fighting for, for well over twenty bloody years? …and this is but only one issue of the myriad of issues that the community have been working so hard to work through for a better outcome. Let’s negotiate by all means, but how does ZERO fit into the equation?
    Also, does Council really now believe that had the public NOT been fighting Council and then N.C.H.P.T. all these years, that these Adopted 2014 plans would now be up for amendment? Come on, get real. Claiming credit for planned amendments now while diminishing the value of public comment, when many councilors were not even here at the beginning of this harrowing fight is just too much.
    And one more thing if I still have you, N.C.H.P.T. has had our river front land for what, twelve years? Wouldn’t you like to know why this juggernaut has done absolutely nothing, ZERO, to date about the appalling state of our public parks amenities blocks like the one at Torakina? I am fed up with N.C.H.P.T. and I wouldn’t trust them to do anything and for the life of me can not comprehend how anyone else could with their appalling record to date.
    With regards, David Kolb
    NOTES *The bulk of what is known as Massey Greene holiday park and its gazetting for holiday park usage occured in 1979 and states. “Crown Lands covered by the Plans of Management for Massey-Greene holiday park comprise Reserve No. 91536 (this land, Lot 409 DP728650, is the bulk of what we know of as Massey Greene holiday park) “for the purpose of caravan and camping gazetted on the 17th of August, 1979”
    * “On the 1 September 2006 in the OFFICIAL NOTICES 7769 NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT GAZETTE No. 111 RESERVATION OF CROWN LAND PURSUANT to section 87 of the Crown Lands Act 1989, the Crown land specified in
    Column 1 of the Schedule hereunder is reserved as specified opposite thereto in Column 2 of the Schedule.
    TONY KELLY, M.L.C., Minister for Lands SCHEDULE COLUMN 2
    Reserve No. 1012196 (Lot 7005 DP 1113421) “reserved as specified” for the public purpose of access and public requirements, rural services, tourism purposes and environmental and heritage conservation”*

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