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Byron Shire
October 22, 2021

Retrospective DA sought for Myocum sand and gravel stockpile

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One large sand pit, located on Myocum Road near the Mullum Golf Club. Photo Hans Lovejoy

The Community Alliance for Byron Shire (CABS) has strongly objected to a development application (DA) for a landscaping supplies business in Myocum Road at the current site of a large sand and gravel stockpile.

The stockpile was cleared as ‘legal’ by Byron Shire Council last year following public complaints.

At the time there had been speculation about a proposed concrete batching plant development on the property, but Byron Council staff found ‘no plant is either operating, or under construction’.

The property, owned by the Archibald family, is adjacent to Wards Landscape supplies, which is under separate ownership and management.

The Archibalds say they will not be operating in direct competition with Wards and will only be wholesalers.

Sand taken from riverbank

But CABS believe the DA should be rejected on multiple grounds, not least because they claim the sand was taken illegally from land adjacent to Tyagarah Nature Reserve, near the bank of Simpsons Creek.

CABS president Matthew ‘Cleva’ O’Reilly told Echonetdaily that ‘the Archibalds have lodged a DA to retrospectively authorise the stockpile as a landscaping materials supply business’.

‘Submissions on the DA closed today (July 4) so CABS has made a submission.’

But the applicants say they had a right to take the sand from Wiltons Quarry on Tandys Lane.

Despite the EPA last year admitting it had ‘intelligence’ that multiple truckloads of sand had been taken from within the SEPP 14 coastal wetland, the authority concluded last November that it was ‘not of a scale that triggers licensing by the EPA under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (Schedule 1) and thus the EPA refers the report of illegal sand quarrying activity to Byron Council’.

Byron Shire Council says it believed the quarry was able to operate under existing use rights, but that it had ‘managed to facilitate closure of the quarry in January 2017 without the need for any enforcement action or litigation’.

‘The quarry pit has been reshaped and the land owner has had discussions with Council about rehabilitation of the site, including establishment of a natural wetland,’ director sustainable of environment and economy, Shannon Burt, said at the time.

Not ancillary to agriculture

But CABS argued that operation of the quarry could not be justified on ‘existing use rights’ under the EPA Act and urged Council to move against the owners.

‘It is clear that the stockpiling of massive amounts of sand and gravel on a rural property where no agricultural activities are taking place is not a use “ancillary to agriculture”,’ Mr O’Reilly said.

‘It does not meet environmental or community standards to allow a developer to profit from the illegal quarrying of sand from within 10m of Tyagarah Nature Reserve and within 10m of Cape Byron Marine Park, he added.

‘Council compliance staff have done nothing about this issue and they are now about to approve the use of all this illegally obtained sand, which will provide a massive financial windfall for the illegal developer.

‘It just seems insane that this is happening in Byron Shire of all places,’ he said.

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  1. When will Byron Council enforcement staff enforce planning laws and protect our environment? Too many instances of non compliance not being prosecuted.

    Unfortunately,the issue of non compliance is widespread in Byron Shire. The attitude is “anything goes” and “bugger the Council”. Seek forgiveness by putting in a DA when detected.

    Byron Council has an image problem. Get respect Council by respecting planning laws. Prosecute for non compliance..

  2. Some Facts Please
    Clarification of my Title from Illegal Developer to a Small Earthmoving Contractor would be a good start.
    CABS claims that Wiltons Quarry was illegal are without basis as I operated with existing use rights and was registered with The Department of Resources and Energy mine ID # 46583 .The Council had issues with the validity of the quarry during the 1980’s but the Wilton family had proof that it had operated during the 70’s by Cudgen Rutile who processed beach sand on the site.With claims of Radioactivity having already been disproven by laboratory tests.
    The Excavation at this site was Never during my operation within 10m of either of the 2 areas stated and always had the appropriate enviromental protections in place and upon closure the area was reinstated to its previous condition in consultation with council officers and landowners.
    So does CABS believe it is more enviromentally sensitive to bring materials from Teven supplied by Multi National Companies and additional 40kms of fuel burning travel or Locally sourced Products from a small family business.

  3. A new wholesale landscape supply business and according the DA, 8 trucks per hour entering and leaving this new facility, on the Myocum Rd is scary.

    The traffic on Myocum Rd has increased greatly in the last five years.

    Many more tourists, garbage tips users and now commuters use this road. The commuters use to it to avoid the traffic build up off the new Pacific Motorway entering Ewingsdale rd.

    Gravel and supply trucks movements have increased as well and then on top of the bike riders use this road.

    The traffic issues, I was told by council, was the Roads and Maritime services responsibility
    And inn a letter to me, refusing help, the Roads and Maritime services says this is the local councils responsibility.

    The Myocum rd is thinner than the Coolamon Scenic Drive and it is now the scene of many an accident.
    For two large double trailer trucks to pass in some places is really dangerous.

    Myocum rd is

    Someone needs to check Myocum Rd for

  4. two things here:

    Council spends heaps going to Court for Butler street by pass, harrassing the residents in the Bargain….

    Council could have halted at any time these prima facie breaches such as removing sand from a SEPP 14 (mapped) wetland which requires an EIS, then dumping it on land for commercial purpose requires DA if allowed in zoning, then post dating a DA to give retrospective approval,

    They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the LEC in a case where they cant recover costs but do nothing about these blatant breaches by greedy cowboy developers

    It”s pathetic really, people have to do the law themselves, we have rights in NSW to restrain breaches of environmental and planning laws,

    Its bread and butter for any honest council, half decent lawyer or well researched citizens,

    Why dont you ask your new GM Mr Arnold, he worked the Tenterfield Shire Council during the Timbarra litigation which shut down the mine, he is well experienced at the effectiveness of litigation to save the environment.

  5. What a lot of fuss over nothing. Sand is legally taken from a quarry / sand mine that pre exists and the hole fills with water making a nice home for ducks, frogs etc.
    The sand is sold to locals by locals and the money circulates in the local community.
    No more sand can come from the donor site so when it is all sold the land at Myocum returns to it’s former state, a flat field which in itself is no reflection of how the land was 200 years ago.

    All this environmental damage people are concerned about in this instance, but no one batts an eye when acres of green unspoilt land have houses built on them such as the Tallowood estate or fields are filled to a metre or more on the Mullum industrial estate to build concrete industrial units which use a lot of sand in the making of the concrete.
    It is not possible to consume sand or gravel without some environmental impact somewhere and globally the impact of this sort of mining is unsustainable and in some cases very damaging but this operation is both limited in scope and very small in reality.
    As for traffic issues, very few roads in the shire are free from overuse and I doubt this business would make much difference.


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