27 C
Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Playing with fire

Latest News

Local youth among those hardest hit by housing affordability crisis

A 20 per cent spike in rents is driving an increase in youth homelessness across the North Coast, the organisers of a national campaign to end homelessness say.

Other News

Rise and shine!

Early morning starts are not a usual routine for chefs at the Ballina RSL Club. March was an exception when Chef Halie Welsh rallied some staff and friends together to take part in Ian Thorpe’s Laps For Life charity. A team of ten hit the Ballina Pool at 7am every day during March to raise funds For ReachOut’s Laps For Life challenge. 

Arakwal chemicals

David Gilet, Byron Bay I have long been dismayed by the use of Glyphosate by Parks & Wildlife in Arakwal National...

SCU named as partner in two national drought hubs

Southern Cross University has been announced as playing a crucial partnership role in two new Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs.

Community land trust

Shane Sylvanspring, Mullumbimby I want to congratulate and applaud Cr Paul Spooner, Mayor Simon Richardson, and planning staff for supporting and...

Paramedic pay

Sue McLeod, Myocum  I was saddened by the plight of our paramedics and their union’s frustrated attempts to seek a pay...

Unauthorised dwelling capital of the world!

Could Main Arm’s title as the Unauthorised Dwelling Capital of the World be under threat?

Fast Buck$, Coorabell

At the February meeting Crs Lyon and Richardson expressed wonder at how a development at the end of a narrow, dead end lane in Main Arm could have obtained a satisfactory fire risk rating.

State government legislation to protect lives and property in bushfire-prone lands in rural areas requires a developer/builder to deal separately with the rural fire service (RFS) which has an effective veto power.

I know about this because of my community title development. The main relevant rule for any situation is that you can’t build more than 200 metres from a council road – unless there is an alternative way out of the property, or if you totally clear a 50 metre cordon around your house.

My cheapish consultant hadn’t told me about that so when his report went to the RFS for approval I received a phone call from Coffs Harbour office advising me of the problem and suggesting that there are other ways around it and maybe I should hire another consultant.

I didn’t like the tone of that, so I sent them a letter expressing my suspicions. In it I offered a compromise – which involved me undertaking not to pursue my suspicions –  and them to agree to further work that I would perform  to facilitate the access of fire-fighting trucks. They readily accepted.

Anyway, I soon deduced who the highly-qualified consultant was to whom they were trying to steer me. I had already seen an example of his work done for a neighbour of mine. He has turned up working on fire reports for a number of other contentious developments in the region.

The other RFS rules relate to such things as road width, steepness, road setbacks, turning bays, passing bays etc. Not one of your elected Councillors will know anything about any of this as the bureaucrats involved wish them to remain ignorant.

I point out that normally the fire consultant report is put out for public comment along with other planning aspects of the proposal. In one case, however, Council unusually exhibited the DA without any fire report. Council refused the DA on various grounds, so the developer lodged an appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

I attended the hearing in February last year. Although Council’s barrister argued well (and won the case) I was appalled to hear him on the last day, brandish a fire consultants’ report plus RFS approval declaring the fire risk matter thereby ‘resolved’ without any independent comment or input.

It appears that good working relationships are the order of the day when it comes to fire-risk.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Fresh faces for Council elections

A very distinct, black flat-cap has just been thrown into the ring for the upcoming Byron Council elections, pegged for September 4.

Follow the buck$

JK Mckenna, Burringbar Give Fast Buck$ his own column in the paper. Let him speak. Let him be heard. Let’s also see some accountability from councils...

A bouquet for Lilac House

L Jenkins, Byron Bay Nicole Habrecht should receive free paint and brushes and a pat on the back from Council for maintaining her house in a...

Bruns boarding house showdown Thursday

The stage is set for a crucial debate over the Brunswick Heads ‘Corso’ development in Byron Council this week, with staff recommending that the developer’s revised plans be approved.