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Byron Shire
September 26, 2021

Congrats councillors – can you follow through?

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Geoffrey Cotton, Clunes

Byron Councillors must be congratulated on their newfound concern to protect high-value agricultural land from inappropriate non-farm uses, especially those resulting in residential spread and events-based activities (May 19).

Let’s hope our councillors maintain their new stance beyond the forthcoming elections, and extend it to the creeping cancer that is inappropriate Multiple Occupancy (MO) and Community Title (CT) development.

These same Councillors (except Crs Coorey and Cameron) rubber-stamped the approval of a ‘fake news’ MO development on a working macadamia farm at 147 Federal Drive, Eureka just two years ago. And yes, opponents made it quite clear to these councillors that the proposed MO would alienate a large area of state-significant farmland, contravening then-existing State and Council strategies and policies.

This welcome zeal to protect farmland appears not to have filtered down into the planning decisions made recently by Council staff. Just two months ago, Council’s planning staff approved the conversion of this same approved (but never built) ‘fake news’ MO development at 149 Federal Drive, Eureka, to Community Title.

This latest planning approval will see the development of an additional 14 residential lots on the existing macadamia farm, and (if Council enforces its own relevant planning requirements relating to buffer zones, which it seems unwilling to do) will likely result in up to 70 hectares being removed from high-value commercial agricultural production forever. How’s that for ‘protecting farmland’?

Is it asking too much to expect councillors and Council staff to act consistently, and to act in accordance with state and local requirements? Think about this when voting for change in September.

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  1. Worth noting that quite a lot of the people you’re referring to aren’t running this time. It’ll be widely a bunch of fresh faces.


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