It was just after 10am on Saturday and around 150 protestors were assembling to make their voices heard to what can only be described as a catastrophe in waiting – the massive West Byron development, which would be located opposite the Arts and Industry estate.
A car screeches to a halt on the always busy Ewingsdale Road after local journalist-activist Jim Beatson sat down, obstructing traffic.
The driver of a shiny, dust free large late model SUV with QLD number plates begins honking. Then in a fit of rage, the driver jumps out of his expensive spotless car and screams, ‘I’m a local too!’ Beatson asks him to drive around him, which he then does, aggressively.
Such a scene sums up how divisive the West Byron project is, and later on protestors gathered on the road to remind motorists what they could expect when the development is approved.
A development application (DA) by a group of ‘local’ and QLD developers to plonk a massive high density suburb on wetlands has been roundly criticised – there are no assurances by the developer’s own traffic report that Ewingsdale Road will not become more congested as a result.
Additionally, many key principles of Byron Shire Council’s planning have been ignored says former mayor and MLC Jan Barham. Those planning instruments were remarkably over-ridden by the state government in an attempt to give the developers a clear passage to completion.
There has been no investigation – yet – into the relationship between the developers and the NSW state government.
Local MLC Ben Franklin (Nationals), whose government interfered against community wishes, is yet to reply to Echonetdaily’s questions.
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.
Submission on DA 10.2017.661.1 and on the re-exhibited Villaworld DA 10.2017.201.1 need to be made by March 30. Submissions should also be clearly marked with the DA number. Email [email protected]
Visit www.byronresidentsgroup.org for more info.