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January 29, 2022

Communication breakdown over West Byron planning meeting

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The DA for ‘Harvest’, one of the two proposed developments proposed for West Byron. Image Villa World

Hans Lovejoy & Jim Beatson

The government-appointed body that will decide on the proposed West Byron urban sprawl opposite the Arts & Industry Estate will not have seen Byron Shire Council’s assessment or the thousands of public submissions before the public meeting it called for June 19 at Mullumbimby Civic Hall.

The two West Byron DAs lodged between them seek approval for 667 residential lots and associated business, industrial and residue lots.

A Department of Planning and Environment (DoPE) spokesperson confirmed with The Echo that ‘letters sent out from the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) to notify the community of the upcoming meeting incorrectly stated that Council’s assessment report and recommendations would be made available prior to the meeting.’

‘Community members wishing to speak at the meeting should raise any further planning-related issues they have with the proposal at the public briefing.

‘A further public meeting will be held to give the community another opportunity to directly address the Panel with their concerns once the council’s assessment report and its recommendations have been finalised. The report will be made available on the Planning Panel’s website seven days prior to the public meeting.’

Council staff confirmed they are still assessing the application and reviewing submissions. A spokesperson said, ‘The verbal submissions that will be made at the public briefing will also need to be taken into account in the assessment process.’

The Echo asked the DoPE, ‘Why didn’t the JRPP or the DoPE seek to confirm that Council staff had completed its West Byron assessment before announcing this meeting for June 19? It appears a waste of the public’s time to make public submissions at this meeting given the panel will not be fully informed of Council’s position and the public opposition.’

A spokesperson replied, ‘A public briefing meeting for June 19 has been organised by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) due to significant community interest in two development applications in West Byron.’

‘In this instance, the JRPP chairperson elected to give the community an additional opportunity to voice their feedback on the development applications, prior to the public determination meeting. The applicant and everyone who has made a submission are invited to attend the public briefing meeting. The council assessment officer usually attends to record any issues raised which need to be addressed in the council assessment report.’


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  1. It’s good that the JRPP is having this extra hearing. The community will be heard as part of the submissions process on two occasions. It is a shame that they didn’t hold the meeting in Byron Bay as the people most affected will be less able or less likely to attend. If people do want to attend and speak they need to contact theJRPP by FRIDAY THIS WEEK.
    The JRPP will be holding 2 sessions on Tuesday 19 June
    Session 1 – 3.00pm-5.30pm and
    Session 2 – 6.30pm-8.00pm @ Mullumbimby Civic Hall.

  2. The Byron Shire Council’s assessment of the submissions on the proposed West Byron Estate, from the June 19 Mullumbimby Civic Hall public meeting, has not yet been seen by a government-appointed committee.

  3. I very much agree, Catherine but not much is held in Byron Bay – it has a distinct lack of public venues of that capacity. Except for Cavanbah and we wouldn’t want to add to the traffic that may already be clogging Ewingsdale Road at that time! It would be good to be able to take the JRPP on a drive from the freeway into town then do a few laps of the Johnson, Lawson, Fletcher, Marvel block. Then again it’s winter – they wouldn’t experience the journey at its best.

    How can a large bureaucracy expect that a small ratepayer-based Council can process the 5000+ submissions in that sort of deadline? Submissions that were part of the avalanche of outrage that inevitably followed from a proposal that was thrust upon the shire by the same administration? Any irony here?

  4. Good luck people hope you get a better outcome than we did in the north. A sad tale but true it appears they represent the developer more than the community. I really hope that we don’t get this mega development, but we are being targeted as a holiday destination, world wide by governments, Chamber of Commerce s, Regional Travel Agencies, etc. and we are now the Air B&B capital. Come and stay where Hollywood loves to play where we can fit you in, by throwing the values of Byron’s communities out. Sorry to be so jaded but in the North we have been through countless P.A.C.s. We are over run with tourists partying hardy and approx. 75% of area has become Air B&Bs. Traffic horrid, locked in homes and out of our villages. Good luck will be there to hear and hope with all my heart they are really listening to you. As sick and tired of Sydney telling us what and where we can have this or that.


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