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September 18, 2021

Rezoning of solar train rail corridor

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Hans Lovejoy

A request to rezone the rail corridor between Bayshore Drive and Lawson Street, Byron Bay, so the Byron Bay Railroad Company (solar train) can undertake track maintenance is up before councillors at this Thursday’s planning meeting, August 13.

Currently the not-for-profit company requires consent for that activity, and staff say rezoning requires amending the Byron Local Environmental Plan (BLEP) 2014.

This includes changing the ‘W1 Natural Waterways zoning that applies to the section of rail located on the existing bridge across Belongil Creek’.

Staff say in the report that, ‘Nothing in this planning proposal would provide any exclusivity to the current operator or prevent any future rail uses’.

Yet there were additions to the proposal sought by the Biodiversity Conservation Division (BCD) of the NSW Department Planning, Industry & Environment. They include making reference to the Belongil Creek Flood Risk Management Study 2015 and consulting with ‘Arakwal with relation to cultural heritage’. Both were adopted within the rezoning request, say staff.

Additionally the ‘BCD objected to the proposed additional permitted uses, insofar as they would allow development without consent within areas mapped as Coastal Wetland or Littoral Rainforest under SEPP (Coastal Management) 2018, or within areas mapped as proximate to those areas’.

Council staff argued that as provisions of SEPP (Coastal Management) 2018 take precedence over the Byron LEP, ‘this will override the provisions of the additional permitted uses clause for the section of the corridor mapped as Coastal Wetland’.

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  1. Red flags are flying here.
    Track mainetence is part and parcel of operation of the track and the train:
    “Currently the not-for-profit company requires consent for that activity …”
    And just why would consent require a rezone when the operation of the train does not need a re-zone.
    This sentence surely is redundant since the NSW government owns the rail and the land that the rail is planted on.
    If it is exclusivity would not millions of dollar have to change hands to the government as they then sell the land and rails to the company or the company pays a sizable lease.
    ‘Nothing in this planning proposal would provide any exclusivity to the current operator or prevent any future rail uses’
    The rail and land is public transport land and track for the whole 131 kilometres. To rezone a short part spolis the whole. Would not the whole 131 kilometres have to be re-zoned?

  2. I wouldn’t trust Brian Flannery aka BRC, aka Elements, aka one of Australia’s largest coal miners regarding rezoning. It’s a grab for exclusivity for sure.

  3. January 2018 I posted this on a few Facebook pages , so good that it is finally getting an LEP adjustment made .
    “Byron Bay Train Vs LEP W1 Natural Waterway Zoning . This was a Byron Shire Council planning department oversight when the 2014 LEP was registered with NSW Planning. Because the railway line was not being used by the Elements train before the 2014 LEP introduction it did not have ‘continuing use’ rights . A W1 Natural Waterway zoning is very specific about what can and cannot occur in its zone , a problem that raised its head in Lismore Shire with a boardwalk thru a zone that was not compliant with the LEP Zoning . Luckily the boardwalk had ‘continuous use’ before and during the Rezoning so was allowed to stay.
    Sutherland Shire has it written in its LEP for the W1 zoning that ‘public transport infrastructure ‘ is allowed with consent and as such a tourist train would be allowed to start running across their W1 zoning with ‘consent’.
    So a terrible oversight by BSC Planning Staff has left a nasty legacy. Rules are rules and the Land & Environment Court must stick to it .
    Addendum- The bridge over the Belongil should have been zoned SP2 to give it access to private parties. At present only public trains or roads are allowed in W1 without approval or consent even though it is not written in LEP zoning tools.
    Sutherland Shire used SP2 zoning for railway corridors.”

  4. Thank you Emily for your spot on comment. Maintenance of the line does not require such a rezoning plan. Another hoodwinking strategy attempting to deny the Rights of the Community and the Rights of Nature by devouring Corporations and NSW Government. Every government operative involved in this has more than exposed their REAL dark intentions in this ambit claim.

    We cannot afford to loose any more Green spaces. Challenging the dire conditions contributing to Climate Change, global communities are demanding we work for an Ecological Planet and that means diminishing the life defying structural forces that are supported by a Neo Liberal ideology; which results in PROFIT FOR CORPORATE INVESTORS.

    Indeed, the taxpayer pays for the train to operate with workers on the train being paid by “Job Training Schemes” and that taxpayer gift ADDS to Corporate profit, thus widening the gap between ‘them and us.” These Corporations are so sneaky. Do they really think that the community do not understand their inner machinations?

    Mr. High-Enders and your Crony’s’ your “Market” is destructively soul-less. No singers can get their chops around your Not-for-Profit $$$ lyrics. No heart strings are being pulled in the community, No violinist plays your ‘dark captivating lyrics” of greed and social oppression. As they say “It’s not over till the Fat Lady sings”.

  5. Without giving the railway bridge a rezoning change then a walkway cannot be added to the side of the bridge . Now aren’t we trying to get people riding and walking between West Byron
    , Sunrise and the Industry Estate into Byron Bay ?
    At present the bridge is zoned W1 and can only operate under ‘continuous use’ rules .


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