Chris Dobney & Aslan Shand
Yesterday the Land and Environment Court (L&EC) conducted a mediation meeting over the West Byron R&D development application (DA) that is currently before them as a deemed refusal.
After the court conducted a site inspection and heard from a range of objectors against the proposal, the developers and Byron Shire Council staff met in closed session for the court ordered mediation.
Back to court
A Council spokesperson told Echonetdaily this morning that ‘as no in-principle agreement could be reached on the expert evidence the conciliation conference was terminated’.
‘The matter will now go to back to the Land and Environment Court for a further directions hearing,’ the spokespersons said.
The application was last week refused on 20 grounds by the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP previously known as the JRPP).
But L&EC commissioner Paul Adams told those present at the site inspection that the NRPP’s decision would have ‘no bearing’ on the court’s decision, according to BayFM journalist Jim Beatson, who attended.
Mr Beatson said the L&EC have made it clear that the court ‘will be judging the case on its merits’.
However, key speakers at the mediation, including Dailan Pugh, were able to re-state their arguments against the DA.
They specifically highlighted the fact that the developers had not addressed the causes of concern particularly in relation to the lack of water control and management issues.
Dr Mary Gardner’s presentation (read by Veda Turner on her behalf) focused particularly on the changed hydrology and water conditions across the West Byron site.
‘One of the issues since the reports were made eight years ago is that the hydrology across the Byron site is different and it is not clear what the current picture is,’ according to Ms Gardner.
Small victories at a time, we are on the right track! #nowestbyron
Give ’em nothing. More space for the critters, not people!
As I understand it, this area is a prime acid sulphate soil area, a swamp, and liable to be threatened by sea level rise. Now that the land and environment court has brought up climate change as an issue, perhaps that will spill over to west Byron development. In my opinion, any development on low lying land near Byron Bay is liable to be a near future problem.