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Take responsibility for West Byron

Dailan Pugh, Byron Bay

I am disgusted by the buck-passing of the Liberal Planning Minister and local National Party member over their government’s decision to impose 1,000 houses in a Western Sydney style development on western Byron Bay, and their pretence they can do nothing about it.

I was part of the delegation who met with the then Liberal planning pinister Pru Goward and provided her with evidence about the fabricated traffic figures, the over-development of Byron Bay, the plight of kKoalas and the impacts on the Belongil estuary.

Later we did a freedom of information request and found that neither her nor her department ever attempted to obtain independent advice on any of these issues. They preferred to blindly accept the developer’s claims.

We are facing this monstrosity because of this government’s failure to do due diligence, and the local National Party’s fulsome support for West Byron.

It’s not too late for them to atone for their sins by commissioning an independent traffic study that assesses the impact of 16,000 extra cars a day on congestion of Ewingsdale Road, rather than the fabricated 6,000 extra cars they chose for political reasons to rely on. They can include this in a submission to the Regional Planning Panel as a reason for not approving this monstrosity.

The planning minister is also responsible for blocking the ‘State Environment Planning Policy – Coastal Management’ which promises to provide increased protection for West Byron’s wetlands and blocking Byron Council’s ‘Comprehensive Coastal Koala Plan of Management’ which identifies the core koala habitat at West Byron and gives koalas the recognition and protection they deserve.

This government clearly does not want environmental values to constrain their development.

The Liberal and National Parties need to fess-up and accept all the credit for West Byron that they so richly deserve. If they now realise that this was a stupid thing to do then they need to stop pretending they are powerless and do something about it. They are the government, there is a lot they can do if they really wanted to.

Don’t wait for them, do something yourself by putting in a submission, you only have yourself to blame if you don’t let them know what you think. See www.protectbyron.com.au.


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