John Lazarus, Byron Bay
Well, well, well, the area that the section of councillors, and Council’s planners, proposes to rezone for development on the Elements site (formerly owned by Becton and Club Med) is actually part of the 57ha that was supposed to be transferred to the adjacent Nature Reserve in the State Government Becton Consent Condition.
It appears that residents, who for decades have risen up to protect the site from overdevelopment, have had some belated success, as Becton and the next purchaser, Elements, forgot to activate the State Government Consent, which includes – ‘That 57 hectares in the north and west are to be transferred to a public authority’.
Becton purchased the site with 78 tourist accommodation units, and originally proposed an increase up to 728. After major public opposition, Becton reduced their proposal to 144 units, but the impacts did not stack up for Council who rejected even that (where have those sort of community responsive, environmentally sensitive councillors gone?). Whereupon Becton took the development application (DA) to the state government who passed it. But, as it remained unactivated, that consent is now stale and invalid, and the site only retains the development consent in place prior to the Becton DA.
The councillors who voted to rezone it, which includes all of the green (wash) councillors, demonstrated no concerns for the site’s ecology, or even understanding of what existing planning consents were in place, which evidences their incapacity for re-election. Ndiaye is an anathema on the new Greens election ticket, and the other detritus of ex-Greens councillors who have coagulated into the Lyon group. This includes the ex-councillor Westheimer who used to (still does?) run an investment Holiday Let unit in the Bay. Does he support Lyon’s holiday-letting restrictions? They have also, again, portrayed their incapacity to oversee Shire development. For me, Crs Coorey and Cameron are the only councillors that retain any merit for re-election.
My correspondence with the GM on this Elements planning mess is as yet to clarify how Council will respond. The Becton Consent was not supported by the community or Council. Should there be attempts to bulldoze the Rezoning through, then the ‘No Becton Bay’ campaign may have to be revisited and re-badged to No Elements Enclave?