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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Community locked out on development of SBSTP

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Liz Levy, Suffolk Park

Congratulations Dailan Pugh (Letter’s March 26) for so succinctly nailing the abysmal process that has surrounded Council’s ‘partnership project’. The one for redevelopment of the decommissioned sewage treatment plant in Suffolk Park.

Council wanted to retain public ownership, cover remediation costs and gain community benefit. All good except that they have locked the community out of the process from the start.

Byron Shire residents have the right to expect a reasonable enhancement to public space and infrastructure from the developer. Small change for access to this potential real estate gold mine.

Council has missed a golden opportunity to first identify what the community would value, and ensure the tender documents shape the project accordingly.

Council’s Supporting Partnerships Policy’s first objective is ‘to develop partnerships that demonstrate transparency, probity, accountability and consistency from their inception.’

I am incredulous that no information or consultation will be available until the preferred tender has been selected.

What will be left to negotiate? The process means that applicants will have outlined potentially meagre community benefit and Council will be left to take it or leave it. Not very proactive.

A plan of management was drafted for this area for public exhibition but fizzled. Instead Council put up signs last year asking ‘suitably qualified’ individuals to partner in the ‘master planning and development’ of the site. Everything has been hidden behind confidentiality since.

How generous that after the ink has dried, Council will share with us the ‘vision for future use’ of this much loved site. I think the only thing assured is a windfall for another big developer.

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