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Byron Shire
April 16, 2021

Iron Gates development back to haunt Evans Head as river rated ‘poor’

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Evans River is currently in ‘poor’ health and locals are concerned that the proposed Iron Gates development will push the river into further decline. Image supplied.

The health of the Evans River is rated was ‘poor’ and the banks of the river are once again under development pressure from the proposed Iron Gates Development. Locals and river lovers are highlighting their concerns over the potential impact of the development on the already poor state of the river this Sunday 17 November with a protest paddle.

‘Our River is a jewel,’ said Organiser Craig Gillespie. ‘It brings joy to families, happiness to tourists and pleasure to anglers. The NSW State of the Beaches 2018–2019 showed our [Evans] River water quality was graded “Poor” indicating water quality is susceptible to faecal pollution, particularly after rainfall. It is time that Richmond Valley Council did more to restore healthy water quality in the Evans River.’

Local environmentalist, Dr Richard Gates, stated that the authorities need to address the pollution entering the river. To have such significant levels of e-coli being detected means runoff into the river is not being managed to an acceptable standard.

Iron Gates Development

The Iron Gates development has been an ongoing issue for the area that began between 1995 and 1996 when developers cleared protected vegetation from the site. In 1997 Al Oshlack won a court order against the developer who were ordered by theLand and Environment Court to restore the land at a cost of $2m. The breach of the development application (DA) was considered so serious that the developer lost the DA approval. At this point Iron Gates Pty Ltd declared itself bankrupt and as a result the order to restore the land was not carried out.

Now under the new company name Goldcoral Pty Ltd the new DA is seeking to build a 175 lot development at the site.

‘I love the river, it is a complex habitat for some of our most endangered marine species. I am particularly concerned about the proposed Iron Gates Development. It was closed down by order of the NSW Land and Environment Court in the 1990s, and yet here we are, a generation later, considering building houses on the banks of this fragile ecosystem,’ said  twenty years old Tilly O’Connell who has grown up in Evans Head.

‘My generation appreciates how wonderful our environment is, we don’t want old fashioned development thinking damaging the environment. I want my children to enjoy this beautiful River in future. We cannot afford to damage it in the way that will happen if the proposed Iron Gates Development goes ahead.’

Join the paddle

Paddlers will depart from the current end of Iron Gates Drive, Evans Head at 1 pm this Sunday 17 November and will travel under the Evans Head Bridge. Paddlers will be welcomed at the on the banks of the Evans River at the Gazebos located just upriver from the Riverfont Kiosk. There will be information available for local people concerned about the Proposed Iron Gates Development DA 2015/0096. Submissions to the Council consideration of this DA close on Monday 18- November at 4.30pm.


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  1. Original developer went bankrupt? Pull aside the corporate veil and it is the same person still trying to push this development. If he had an ounce of a conscience he would pay up for the original damage done to the area.

  2. Please put the health of the river and the community ahead of wealth for a select few.Used to enjoy walk on other side of river where they took the foot bridge out.Was that coincidence to prevent seeing Iron Gates going ahead secretly?


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