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Byron Shire
June 16, 2021

Developers push swamp boundaries – will council push back?

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Aslan Shand

It has once again been left to residents to raise serious issues in relation to a development application (DA) that is pushing to develop at 6 Keats Street, Byron Bay at the expense of the environment, in particular the Cumbebin Swamp.

Residents have raised concerns with the council over the DA (10.2020.215.1) in relation to privacy of adjacent blocks, traffic and stormwater. However it is the inability of the site to accommodate the required Bush Fire Protection Zone(BFPZ) and the Coastal Wetland Protection Zone (CWPZ) that has raised the most serious concerns.

‘One of the most contentious issues with this DA is its proximity to Cumbebin Swamp and the conflict between the BFPZ and the CWPZ. There isn’t room on the site to accommodate both,’ local resident, Nick Buckley, told The Echo.

Doesn’t meet zoning

Council’s ecologist has stated ‘that the application has not adequately demonstrated that significant impacts on the coastal wetland will be avoided by the development owing to the limited buffer width and that the buffer is required to be managed for bush fire protection purposes (rather than for ecological benefit).’

A s’olid, non-combustible fence… to minimise urban edge effects on the wetland’ has been put forward.

Mr Buckley explained that ‘to the uninitiated this sounds like they are suggesting putting up a Colorbond fence is the solution to separation of wetlands from “peri-urban” areas, which in turn sounds like a potentially dangerous precedent.’

‘To me the big issue is the one about compromise on the Coastal Wetland Buffer. Council’s ecologist is saying the DA does not allow a sufficient buffer; BUT then goes on to recommend a metal fence! To me this suggests that Council has at the very least a “flexible” attitude to wetland protection, and at worst is happy to roll over to the developer for a bit of Colorbond!

‘If the DA was reduced from ten [dwellings] to six, and three of those were rotated through 90 degrees, there would be a vastly improved wetland buffer and set-back amenity for the residents of Keats Street,’ said Mr Buckley.

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  1. That development is way to large for the site or the street. Should be reduced from 10 to 6 homes as Keats street can’t take all that traffic. The land was also once swamp, it was reclaimed by the previous owner years ago. How this got through council is a disgrace.

  2. With the development sites going RIGHT NEAR the edge of the wetlands & the volumes of precipitation at various parts of the year in Byron, it may appear runoff from intensive building works on this large development into the fragile wetlands could be inevitable in this proposal.
    How can council let this development proposal progress without significant amendments to reduce risks to the fragile local ecology…..
    For the sake of logic, reduce the amounts of blocks and move this further away from the wetlands…


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