Menu

Developer bonanza

Cr Cate Coorey, Byron Bay

Cr Michael Lyon’s statement in his letter regarding the Business and Industrial Lands Strategy (BILS) cannot be ignored. His comment, ‘I stand by our decision to identify additional lands for businesses to expand in the Shire and to attempt to put some downward pressure on rents’, astounds me. It sounds innocuous but those ‘additional lands’ are in fact a four-fold increase in what was recommended by the consultants Council brought in to assess what was needed for the next 25 years. 

One might expect such a statement from a Nationals or Liberal councillor, but creating an excessive supply of land to allow for more development to bring down prices is an outdated economic model that has proven elsewhere to fail. Has anyone noticed prices going down, and staying down, in Byron’s building boom? Cr Lyons’ position surely contradicts Greens policy of ecologically sustainable development. Those who voted for the BILS have built a giftbfor developers who will be rushing to rezone their land that got put into the Strategy.

Cr Lyon and the other Greens councillors (and Crs Spooner and Hunter) put aside evidence-based planning by ignoring the reports we commissioned. They included land that was rejected as unsuitable for an eco-village only months prior. They ignored the survey of our business community that placed business space as a relatively low priority – only eight per cent of respondents listed it as their main concern. 

The same councillors also supported a new potential area for business development, around Byron hospital, without it even being exhibited. Cr Lyons claims that the hospital area was always planned for this use, yet gave no evidence to support that claim. A so-called ’seniors’ development next to the hospital was rejected in 2014 after a substantial community campaign and a lack of support from the Department of Planning (DPIE).

These councillors have said that ‘just because land gets put into the Strategy doesn’t mean it will get rezoned’. We heard the same words from the previous Council about West Byron – ‘just because they get the land rezoned, it doesn’t mean they mean to build over all of it.’ They tried, and continue to try, to do exactly that.

In 2016, when the Rural Land Use Strategy came to the last Council, some councillors threw extra land into the Strategy at the last minute and without public exhibition; an outrage to the then Greens on council. In 2020, Crs Spooner, Hunter and the Greens beefed up the Business and Industrial Lands Strategy with up to four times more land than is needed and rejected community consultation. This too is an outrage. The level of growth that this Council has supported is poor planning that will, to my mind, create a future for Byron Shire that none of us want too see; it is difficult to reconcile it with a so-called progressive council.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers, and is brought to you by this week's sponsor, Hepatitis Australia, Test Cure Live.