Planning minister passes buck on West Byron mega-development

Pontius Pilate or planning minister Anthony Roberts? Photo AAP

The NSW planning minister who allowed his department to intervene to accommodate the wishes of West Byron developers has told parliament he has no role in determining the development.

Anthony Roberts MP (Liberal) responded to local Greens MP Tamara Smith in parliament on March 7 over whether he would ‘act on the concerns’ of the community and, ‘the negative impacts raised about the social, environmental and economic harm of such a mega-development to iconic Byron Bay.’

He replied that as the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) is the determining authority for this application, he had ‘no role’.

This is despite his planning department forcing the locally elected council to change its development control plan (DCP) to allow the controversial project to proceed.

He then went on to say, ‘As part of the council’s assessment, it is required to address the concerns raised in public submissions.’

‘Prior to making its determination, the panel will hold a public meeting to ensure that the community’s concerns are heard. The panel is required to provide written reasons for its determination’.

Mr Roberts said the site was ‘first identified by the council in 1993 under the former Labor government.’

Community concerns

‘In 2009, the site was proposed by Labor as a state significant project. The project has been around for a long time… I know there is much community concern around this development.

‘I have been advised by the parliamentary secretary for the north coast, Ben Franklin, that he has heard from many locals who also have expressed many reservations.’

Cheap politics

Mr Roberts then continued with cheap political point scoring against Labor’s Asren Pugh, who has nominated to run in the seat of Ballina for the 2019 NSW state election. Roberts claims Pugh is on record as saying that ‘Labor has never supported the development.’ Additionally Mr Roberts defended his reasoning to not intervene to stop the project owing to Labor’s history with intervening on planning matters in the years that disgraced and jailed Eddie Obeid was in office.

The ‘locals’ who are pushing for mass urbanisation of Byron Bay – and have yet to explain how their development will not further choke the already clogged Ewingsdale Road – are Tony Smith, Alan Heathcote, Peter Croke, David O’Connor, Garry McDonald, Warren Simmons and non-local Kevin Rogers.

Two DAs for a 108-hectare housing/commercial estate opposite the Arts & Industry Estate on Ewingsdale Road close March 29.

Submissions on the ‘locals’ DA 10.2017.661.1 and on the re-exhibited QLD-based Villaworld DA 10.2017.201.1 should also be clearly marked with the DA number and can be sent to [email protected]


3 responses to “Planning minister passes buck on West Byron mega-development”

  1. damien antico says:

    It would appear that ‘The Community’ at large should be there at the public meeting with the JRPP to voice their opinion.
    Suffice to say I sat on all four meetings initiated by State Parliament prior to the Rezoning of the land by The then minister Pru Goward and those committee meetings all determined that appropriate infrastructure had to be in place prior to the rezoning. This did not occur. Further the environmental concerns raised by the committee at all meetings regarding the wetlands and the effect on our Marine reserve had to be detailed prior to any rezoning.
    These concerns were never addressed prior to the rezoning nor did the Minister attend the site prior to the rezoning.
    It would appear that our community and our Council are being ignored when it comes down to the type of developments approved, The DCP controls and what infrastructure and environmental planning controls are put in place to protect same.

  2. Shamana Marshall says:

    Q and A this week was about this very thing. Infrastructure has to be in place. We keep talking about roads and traffic congestion but something I had not thought about which was mentioned on Q n A was the need for more schools. Primary and high schools. As our present ones are full. And our new hospital which we knew this would happen eventually that is already obsolete especially in a very short time it will be if we have a population boom. So we will probably need another shopping centre another preschool or more than one so where are all these things going to be built if the whole space is allocated to housing and some living space I presume like a park with play equipment well don’t developers want to graciously allow 1 inch that is not a house.. the whole thing is a nightmare.

  3. Marilyn Arthur says:

    What about rising oceans and more intense storms and coastal inundation? Is this really the time to be developing coastal suburbs?

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