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December 2, 2022

Byron Councillors – call out the DA at Eureka

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Geoffrey Cotton, Eureka

Recently, a development application (DA) was lodged that threatens some of the state’s most valuable farmland at 149 Federal Drive, Eureka. The DA, lodged by EGS Investments Pty Ltd, seeks to convert a viable operating macadamia orchard and cattle grazing property to a Community Title (CT) development. Fifteen ‘rural living lots’ are proposed.

Most of the living lots will be on land that is not only zoned RU1 Primary Production, but has been repeatedly recognised by NSW Primary Industries as state significant farmland. Such land is required, by law, to be protected for appropriate rural uses, and to be used for competing uses (read: ‘residential areas’) only where it is ‘fully justified in the strategic planning context’. That’s clearly not the case here. The nearby village of Federal has been identified in the Rural Land Use Strategy 2017 as the location for such rural residential development.

Why are local residents and neighbouring farmers concerned? It’s because Council last year approved a multiple occupancy (MO) development for the same property. Council’s planners recommended approval, for reasons that continue to puzzle, and councillors were fed a Polyanna story by the developer about how great the MO would be for the environment, housing, and the existing farm business on the property. Only Crs Cameron and Coorey questioned these claims.

It’s time to call out development applications that threaten to destroy the long-term future of prime agricultural land and farming enterprises. This is Eureka’s ‘West Byron’ moment.

Councillors, please apply the same scrutiny to this DA.

Put the wider interests of the community before profit for a few.

Future generations will thank you for it.

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