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Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

BILS 2020

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Duncan Dey, Main Arm

Council resolved last Thursday to ignore NSW Dept of Planning advice and retain land areas around Gulgan Road in the list of areas to be developed under Council’s Business & Industrial Lands Strategy (BILS).

Three councillors voted against and one was absent.

Amazingly, Council staff were in favour – they drafted the resolution for Council.

The BILS includes land whose suitability has yet to be proven, for which infrastructure may or may not be feasible, and whose quantum yields a strategy offering four times the 10 hectares predicted by Council’s own experts as needed in a high-growth scenario (prior to COVID-19).

A play on words was part of Council’s resolution. While NSW Planning says the extra areas are okay for ‘preliminary investigation’, Council just says, ‘Go!’. These areas should not be opened up for speculation but now are. Land values rise when a ‘higher use’ is granted for them. That then raises the pressure on Council to approve. Community then, once again, has to battle to prevent a disaster. And disappointed developers threaten court action, which Council avoids like the plague.

On the next Council, Greens will not jump the gun on process; we will heed expert advice; and we will protect the environment and community from poor development. Poor processes lead to poor outcomes, of which there are enough without inviting more.

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