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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Residents rally against West Byron development

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Protestors at the West Byron development rally. (Jeff Dawson)

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.

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  1. Are we absolutely sure our mayor et al can’t liaise with a key state minister to discuss overhauling the current zonings for larger D.A’s in regional areas, when decisions really must be made locally. More [group] meetings with the relevant state govt ministers re. this one particular D.A. would surely not go astray! I must NOT go ahead.
    (Discussions, e.g., with ministers for tourism, environment, town planning (if there is one)…????????

  2. Me again:
    There’s still time to stop this. We MUST stop this! Meetings, very well prepared, twixt Byron Shire council & appropriate state govt ministers could well save the day. Surely, the state govt would like to see Byron prosper as an efficient tourist area, rather than one that’s so impossibly unlivable, untenable, that no one wants to be here…????????

  3. 150 people out of the entire Byron Shire go to this rally. Hmm
    Jim Beatson sits on what is considered to be one of busiest roads according to the protestors, ( Which is one reason they are protesting) and wonders why motorists get upset.
    Shame it was a shiny SUV and not a dusty campervan with a long haired surfer. ( No news there !!!).
    Most locals drive with QLD or VIC plates because they wont pass rego or they wont pay their way in NSW.

    No surprises in any of this.
    Sorry folks but my kids need a block of land to live on and the Real Estate Agents have got what they want.
    No Supply and big demand.
    Why doesn’t Council open some land up they have, and sell it by eligible ballot system for young working families that work and live in this Shire and set the standard they want. Not whinge about what they cant control.

    • I hear you Wally.
      People need more land to build homes on, but the Belongil Wetland west of the creek is a terrible place to do it. There are so much better places around the shire to put new homes, villages, and suburbs on.
      This mega-development is purely going to allow the rich to get richer, destroying everything that doesn’t add to profits for their private bottomline.
      Mr Halvorsen, you really don’t want your kids living in what will become Byron’s newest slum / ghetto … and btw, Wally ~ are you a Real Estate Agent ?

  4. There will always be a demand if we keep building our population. It’s not sustainable. Just like all resources, if you keep using them, they run out. Even the forests are having a difficult time recovering and under attack from Bell Miner Associated Dieback. Growing up in the USA I got involved in learning about sustainable development in Seattle. Seattle is the first city to enact a Growth Management Act because of over development from California developers going up there and buying up land and putting up tilt up buildings. The Act was good when it was put into place but almost immediately after enactment, they started amending it. Now Seattle is a mess. The views are gone with massive condominiums being built. The green spaces and wetlands that were supposed to be off limits have been whittled away. People with the same views as you Wally, now regret what has happened to the city.

    Look what happened to the Tweed. You can have development but in the end, is it worth the quality of life that is sacrificed for it? Smothering wetlands for a development should not be happening in 2018. Do we really want what the Gold Coast to Brisbane is like down here from the Tweed to Byron? It’s only a matter of time and I applaud these people for protesting inappropriate developments. Real Estate Agents will hopefully become part of the sustainable conversation instead of lobbying for development for development sake.

  5. I am a regular visitor to the area, and think if the development isn’t to be just an area full of boxes, but, built to suit the environment and allowances are made for extra traffic, it might work, but, as far as I can see there is no way to make the roads wider, I mostly visit South Golden Beach, and don’t go into Byron Bay very often because of the traffic build up. Surely this is a local decision to be made not a State Government plan.

  6. Leave Byron Bay alone and no high rise please. If you want to ruin our world at Byron and build high rise to make our property developers richer. Thats all it will contribute. People love to visit from around the globe because there is no high rise at Byron. It will be a disaster for the great town. Please don’t build high rise.


    There isn’t any, there won’t be. There can’t be……… Byron lost its soul when they banned horses from the top pub! When was this?

    Mid 1980’s…….


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