28.2 C
Byron Shire
February 4, 2023

Elements rezoning

Latest News

Swivel by name, drivel by nature

The lack of authenticity of Byron Councillor, Mark Swivel, does not come as a surprise from this side of...

Other News

Witches in the Starcourt

A new year is here! It’s a time for women all over the region to pick up their brooms and set their witchy intentions for 2023. There is no finer time and place to do it than with your Country Witches, comedian Mandy Nolan and singer/songwriter Áine Tyrrell. 

Duck Creek Mountain Bike Park reopens

Just off the road between Alstonville and Ballina, the spectacular Duck Creek Mountain Bike Park has re-opened, bigger and better, after an injection of funding and lots of hard work from dedicated volunteers.

Vinnies

What have they done to our Vinnies here in Mullum? They’ve killed it! It has reopened and it is...

They are Hotshots

The two-hour production is a visual feast, choreographed and developed by Australia’s leading professionals and a hand-picked selection of dreamy guys who will have the ladies up from their chairs, screaming for more, night after night. With a totally interactive production, The Secret Fantasies Tour is the perfect night out with the girls.

It’s not the fossils, it’s the fools 

Humans have been muddling along in cities for around twelve thousand years, says Wikipedia, although if you count using an alphabet of some kind as the criterion of civilisation, the time span drops to a mere fifty centuries.

Tributes for songstress Sara Tindley

Hundreds gathered at a small rural property at Lindendale last week to say their final farewells to Sara Tindley, a very much loved personality from the Northern Rivers. 

Jo Faith, Newtown

The recent proposal by ex-Mayor Simon Richardson to Byron Councillors to approach the NSW Government Planning Department to rezone E4 Tourist zoning to Environmental Residential Zoning at Elements Resort should be of grave concern to Arakwal First Nation peoples, environmentalists, ratepayers, renters, locals and the Byron business community.

From a human point of view Elements have made a ‘puff’ gesture to persons wishing to access the beach. Should Elements’ privatisation residential rezoning occur, tourists and locals can still access the pathway to the beach. The rest of the resort is totally privatised, making alternative access to the Belongil prohibitive.

Will the land be rezoned residential with a sliver of zoning marked E4 tourist? Or is this gesture a gentleman’s agreement with the community?

Indeed, one can view aspects of social feudalism in this gesture. Claim the Commons and keep the nature lovers happy with a pathway to the beach. Just stick to the path and avoid any trespassing. The ratepayers pay for this gesture with blood sweat and tears!

Indeed, overall, the Belongil biodiversity has severely suffered as well as the social economic relations of whole Byron human community; which over time, further deals with the inability to be housed or employed in Byron Bay. The trickledown effect of such social/economic/land grab developmental relations is devastating to the habitat and wellbeing of all sentient beings.

Changing this zoning also raises economic and environmental questions. Does this rezoning mean that rates rise for Elements Resort? Do they pay extra for residential land? Or do ratepayers continue paying for this folly? Will the developer honour the rights of nature?

Ratepayers need to be aware that there is no ‘cap’ on rising rates. Byron Bay rates are now two-and-a-half times higher than those in inner Sydney. Sydney is a tourist town with an abundance of beaches, tourists (in non-COVID times) and infrastructure.

Should the Byron Community trust this ‘access to beach’ gesture? An examination of the history of Elements is most revealing and disturbing. A report by highly respected local activist/ecologist Dailan Pugh reveals deep concerns that address the dismissal of Nature’s Rights, and Federal Laws (Commonwealth EPBC Act Environment Protocols and Biodiversity Act [1999]) that insist upon legal protocols for protecting biodiversity. This dismissal has been a consistent feature over years as Elements undertook modifications to the Resort.

Byron Council has approved four modifications since 2012–16 without requiring compliance with current planning and environmental laws. Neither did the proponents refer their proposal to the Federal Minister despite it significantly impacting numerous matters of national environmental significance (it’s a matter of trust).

Dailan Pugh’s review identifies six matters of national environmental significance that face sufficient threat by the modifications to the Resort to have warranted referral to the Federal Environment Minister for determination as a control action. These are:

  1. Critically Endangered Ecological Community Littoral Rainforest and Coastal Vine Thickets of Eastern Australia.
  2. Vulnerable Koala (Phascolarctos Cinereus).
  3. Vulnerable Long-nosed Potoroo.
  4. Vulnerable Wallum Sedge Frog.
  5. Vulnerable Stinking Cryptocarya Foetida.
  6. Migratory Shorebird Species

Finally, Dailan states:

‘It is readily apparent that NO adequate attempt has been made to survey for, consider impacts on, or adopt required mitigation measures for any of these matters of national environmental significance. The proponents maintain that their substantially modified development is a variation to a 1987 approval and therefore doesn’t require assessment in accordance with current NSW Laws. This is incorrect because S96 (3) of the Environmental Planning Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) requires the consent authority to take into consideration the relevant matters under S79C (1) in deciding the modification application. This requires consideration of, amongst other matters, relevant environmental planning instruments including Local Environmental Planning instruments including Local Environmental Plans (LEP), State Environmental Planning policies (SEPPS), likely impacts, and the suitability of the site. The modification is required to comply with current law.’

Byron Council seemed to be looking the other way during these modification periods. Where does trust fit with all of this?

Thanks to all activists, past and present, for ongoing care for this land and a deep apology to the First Nation Arakwal peoples. We will never give up on this struggle for nature’s rights.


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.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Why not just reinstate the golf course that existed for many years on that same site and turn into an international golf course that matches the resort.
    Surely just using the already cleared grass fairways for a golf course could be done quite easily . Solar powered golf buggy’s for transporting the like of golf mad folk ie Donald Trump.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is potentially misleading. A council’s total...

Go Thistles!

Lismore Thistles Soccer Club has launched the Thistles Acceleration Program, in the process becoming the city’s only player development academy. 

Pothole protest gets immediate results

Psst: want to get Council staff to do something about the appalling state of roads in your neighbourhood? Organise a protest outside Mullum’s Council Chambers! By...

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Art imitates life in What’s Love Got to Do with It? a 2022 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Shekhar Kapur, from a screenplay by Jemima Khan.  The precis reads: ‘Set between London and Lahore, a filmmaker documents her childhood friend and neighbour’s arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan.’