Plans for the next stage of development at Mullumbimby’s Tallowood Ridge Estate would lead to the further degradation of remnant bushland and must not be passed by Byron Council without amendment, residents say.
But the developer says no bushland will be removed, and that in fact, many new trees will be planted.
The Development Application (DA) for stage seven of the housing development just off Left Bank Road is due to come before councillors at its planning meeting tomorrow (Thursday), with Council staff recommending conditional approval.
The latest proposal involves a 32-lot residential subdivision at the southern end of the site, including earthworks, a public reserve, a stormwater detention basin and associated civil infrastructure.
But residents say that, if approved, the DA would see multiple breaches of court orders in relation to the site and the breaking of promises by both the developer and Council.
Local resident and ecologist Dave Rawlins said, ‘The fact that staff are recommending approval of this DA demonstrates that our concerns have been falling on deaf ears’.
‘It looks like our meetings with Council have got us nowhere and their discussions with the developer, [Eric] Freeman, have amounted to no changes to the DA.’
But Mr Freeman said no court orders were being breached, and that none of the residents had contacted him with their concerns.
‘No person in Tallowood has called or written to tell me what they would like to be different,’ Mr Freeman said.
However, residents say there are a string of issues with the DA for stage seven in its current form.
This includes that five of the proposed new housing lots extend into a previously protected riparian area, a move that would also see the developer fill in a stream.
‘NSW Water recommends that streams like this one have a buffer either side, not that you chuck a house on them!’ Mr Rawlins said.
But residents say it is just one of a number of examples in the DA where private housing has crept into areas of remnant bushland – some of which are inhabited by koalas – or the corridors that link these bushy areas.
They also say that there is no process in place for remnant bushland on the ridge at the southern edge of the estate to become public lands, despite this area being advertised as a nature reserve and conservation area by the developer.
‘This happens all the time – a map says it’s a nature reserve and then it’s never done,’ Mr Rawlins said.
‘We’re just learning not to trust Council or the developer – we’ve been burned quite a lot and seen too many areas of native vegetation destroyed.
‘We’re calling for that southern area to be put into a public reserve, as per the court order and as per the public advertising for this stage.’
But Mr Freeman says the two areas of koala habitat were both being protected, as was the bushland at the southern end of the site.