The two development applications (DAs) on public exhibition for the West Byron have been extended by Council until March 30. One DA is from ‘local’ landowners, while the other is from QLD-based corporation Villaworld, whose DA was previously rejected.
A planned protest last Saturday by the Byron Residents Group against the West Byron proposals was postponed owing to poor weather, but the group say they are planning another.
Located opposite the Arts and Industry Estate on Ewingsdale Road, up to 300,000m3 of fill will be required for the 108-hectare site, and the traffic report that accompanies the DA has no confidence that this will not result in increasing the major traffic issues for the town.
The residents are calling for the West Byron (WB) proposals to be withdrawn and redesigned to meet the ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Development) standards ‘that Byron Shire has supported for decades’.
Spokesperson and former mayor and NSW MLC Jan Barham said that both proposals are ‘unByron and will destroy decades of work to protect the ecological, social and economic viability of the area.’
‘The current DA proposes 659 lots, some as small as 205m2, with potential for increased development on larger lots, and with the Villaworld development there may be more than 1,000 dwellings crammed into the West Byron area. The NSW government planning minister’s approval of the rezoning has allowed the intensive urban development to be proposed, with small lots, not permitted anywhere else in Byron Shire.
‘The rezoning was approved, despite major opposition from the Byron community, Council and concerns presented to Parliament.
Lack of respect
‘This decision showed a lack of respect for the community and the environment. There is also the potential for a detrimental economic effect on businesses owing to the negative impact on the desirability of Byron Bay as a tourism destination.
‘The development of the West Byron lands will have a dramatic impact on the environment and the traffic on Ewingsdale Road and therefore on the town of Byron Bay.
‘The current proposal and the previous one presented by Villaworld have ignored the decades of studies that determined that the site should be retained as a rural area with only minimal development.
‘The West Byron lots were not included in the upgrade to the West Byron STP and the urban development will plunder capacity identified for in-fill development of existing lots, such as garden flats, dual occupancy and medium-density development.
Council planning principles ignored
‘What the landowners have proposed ignores many key principles of Byron Shire planning. They do not commit to protecting the environment, but propose clearing koala habitat and wetlands that support the nationally vulnerable Wallum Sedge Frog. The developments also propose to fill the floodprone area, which is against Byron planning rules and will have unknown broader impacts on the catchment.
‘The development will be devastating for Ewingsdale Road traffic congestion and the proposed $24m Byron bypass will not relieve the addition of at least 14,000 daily vehicle trips. The state government and the developers have insulted our community by abandoning any principles of good planning and design.
‘The government enabled these proposals for a scale of development that will irreversibly degrade the environment and social amenity, ignoring the concerns raised in the many community submissions that were presented for the rezoning.’
After many attempts over many weeks to get comment from locally based Nationals MLC Ben Franklin, his office told The Echo Monday, ‘You will receive a response from Ben in due course.’
Extended till March 30
Ms Barham urges people to make a submission on DA 10.2017.661.1 and on the re-exhibited Villaworld DA 10.2017.201.1 by March 30.
Submissions should also be clearly marked with the DA number. Email [email protected].
Visit the Byron residents group website for more info.