17.6 C
Byron Shire
April 22, 2024

Developer gets more concessions from Council, despite strong neighbourhood opposition

Latest News

Cockroach climate

The cockroaches in the Byron Council offices are experiencing bright daylight at night. They are trying to determine whether...

Other News

Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Shopping Centres Scare Me

I feel trapped. There isn’t a single time I attend where I don’t check my proximity to the exits, or imagine what I’d do if there was a fire, or worse, a shooter. The sense of being enclosed is unnatural, I can’t tell what time of day it is, I lose my sense of direction. It’s designed to be disorienting. It feels otherworldly. And never in a good way. They are designed to make you stay longer. They are by design, disorienting.

WATER Northern Rivers says Rous County Council is wrong

WATER Northern Rivers Alliance says despite decades of objection, Rous County Council have just commissioned yet another heritage and biodiversity study in the Rocky Creek valley, between Dunoon and The Channon, in the heart of the Northern Rivers.

A festival in laneways

Mullumbimby, a town known for its abundance of artists and creatives with a passion for what drives them, is set to host the much-anticipated Laneways Festival 2024 on May 4 and 5.

Northern Rivers Recovery and Resilience Program announces 36 projects

Bridge expansions, upgraded pumps, enhanced evacuation routes and nature-based projects are just a few of the 36 projects being...

Where the children can play: Lismore’s new Lego café

Walking through Lismore’s elegant Starcourt Arcade, a new burst of colour appears in one of its little shops, instantly prompting two children to squeal in delight: ‘Legoooooo!’.

Labor leading

A very proactive Minns Labor government will celebrate one year in government with a massive investment of $1.8 billion...

Illustration from DA 10.2019.616.3, located on the corner of Jonson and Browning Streets, Byron Bay.

Outrageous overdevelopment or swimming pool in a teacup? That was the question facing Byron Council last week, when an application to build a rooftop pool came before its monthly planning meeting.

Such proposals are not unusual in the Shire these days, particularly in the centre of Byron Bay.

But this particular plan related to a mixed-use development that had already drawn the ire of neighbours and more than a few others in the wider community.

Located on the corner of Jonson and Browning Streets, the proposal – for a mix of apartments, retail, and food outlets – was knocked back by the Northern Regional Planning Panel in November 2018.

Byron Council subsequently approved a scaled-down version of the development proposal, but neighbours argued it was still in breach of floor space and communal space rules, and would create unacceptable road safety risks.

Thus, when co-developer Jason Dunn walked in with an application to modify the development, with the addition of a rooftop pool and garden, and a solar array, they were less than impressed.

‘This is not a modification application, it’s a very significant move away from what you’ve approved,’ one neighbour, Paul O’Connor, told the meeting.

‘And it will lead to another application for shade structures. I say that confidently because on the development’s website, until very, very recently, there were shade umbrellas in the concept drawings that were around 2.4 metres high.

‘They’ve already got fabulous concessions, valued at around $3m, because you, the Council, decided that they didn’t have to meet the SEPP standards for design and floorspace.’

But Mr Dunn told the meeting that the pool proposal included a series of design modifications to limit the impact on neighbours, and that its use would be carefully regulated.

He also said that the addition of the pool had effectively been forced on him by COVID-19.

‘COVID changed the landscape for us immensely,’ he said. ‘The need to provide recreational space within our development, as opposed to nearby, has changed since the application was first submitted in 2019’.

‘At that time, we were in negotiations with John McKenna to lease the apartments to North Coast Community Housing. However, owing to COVID-19, the funding from him to enter into that lease fell through. At that stage, we saw no other option other than to sell the apartments privately to fund the build.

‘The majority of our buyers were from Ballina or Byron, and they were very clear that they would like the addition of the pool and rooftop gardens.’

This argument, unsurprisingly, didn’t wash with opponents of the plan.

‘Jason’s taken a commercial risk when he bought the property – it’s not up to us to facilitate profit for people’, another neighbour, Paul Cholakos said.

But Byron’s councillors did not agree with the neighbour’s arguments. All but one of those present for the debate – Cr Basil Cameron – voted to approve the application.

‘This is just Byron and Ballina people planning to live in a two-bedroom apartment and saying “Can I have a pool?,” Interim Mayor, Michael Lyon, said. ‘I think that’s a reasonable request in the circumstances’.

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.


  1. The original Da was for a 11.5 metre high building in a 9 metre high zone, and that was rejected by the State Gov Planning Panel. The present building has gone through various DAs with Council , and the “Scaled down development” is now up to aprox 12.5 metres high in a 9 metre zone. Something stinks in this Council.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

A grim commemoration

US President Jo Biden, responding to a question, made the comment that the US is considering the dropping of the prosecution of Julian Assange. How...

Infrastructure for east end of Mullum

Mullumbimby was founded 135 years ago. In the 1960s sewerage was introduced, as was I suppose drainage infrastructure. Are we living in the 1920s...

Save Wallum now

The Save Wallum campaign has been ongoing and a strong presence of concerned conservationists are on site at Brunswick Heads. How the state planning...

Can Council’s overturn their decisions?

NSW Labor planning minister, Paul Scully, when asked about the Wallum estate by local MP Tamara Smith (Greens)  in parliament on March 20, said,...