15.4 C
Byron Shire
June 29, 2022

Senior Counsel says Byron Council acted illegally

Latest News

Main Arm Upper school are excited to be going ‘back to school’

It has been hard for many young people as they have managed the impacts of COVID over the last few years but for students at Main Arm Upper Public School the flood has meant they've been out of their school for almost half a year.

Other News

Concerns raised over heritage demolition proposal in Byron

The Byron Bay Historical Society has supported concerns raised by residents around a DA that proposes to demolish a home listed in a heritage area.

Byron Shire resident fined $60,000 for tree clearing

Council staff say a Koonyum Range resident was fined $60k for land clearing/ removing trees, and $10k for an unauthorised building.

Bush stone-curlews in Byron Shire

The first time I noticed a bush stone-curlew in Brunswick Heads it was waiting at the pedestrian crossing, on its way to the pub, across the other side of the road.

People with peace in their hearts?

In reference to the full page advertisement (it clearly states that it is an advertisement, and really is nothing...

Firearm and drugs seized during vehicle stop; pair charged – Mullumbimby

A man and woman have been charged with drug and firearm offences following a vehicle stop in Mullumbimby.

Is Wilsons Creek contaminated?

Do the cars that ended up in Wilsons Creek pose a significant health risk owing to leaching toxins?

Photo www.linnaeus.com.au

Recent advice from Tim Robertson, one of Australia’s most senior environmental barristers, is that Byron Council acted illegally when it zoned part of Linnaeus Estate for mixed use development.

Established in 1996, Linnaeus Estate is a 111 hectare gated community located on rare littoral rainforest adjoining the beach between Broken Head and Lennox Head. It is bounded by the Broken Head Nature Reserves and the Cape Byron Marine National Park and contains abundant wildlife, including threatened species.

Senior Counsel (SC) Robertson’s Memorandum of Advice concludes that an application to develop eco-tourism facilities on Linnaeus is prohibited and not permissible.

According to the advice provided to The Echo, he finds that even if it were permissible, it is nonetheless illegal for either Byron Shire Council or the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) to grant consent to the application.

He further finds that the planning instruments which zoned part of Linnaeus Estate for mixed use were not validly made.

This is the latest in an ongoing dispute between residents and the prospective property developer Brandon Saul, who represents wealthy landowners pushing to construct an exclusive tourist resort, restaurant and bar, a wellness spa, parking lot, and more than 30 exclusive cabins, treehouses and other buildings on the property.

According to the DA, the proposal includes the destruction of Nationally Critically Endangered Littoral Rainforest to make way for buildings.

The project is opposed by many Byron residents, along with the major shareholder of Linnaeus Estate, who commissioned the study by SC Robertson.

In his 40 page document, SC Robertson says, ‘The eco-tourism proposal is not for the purpose of education. It is for tourism with an educational “experience” as a fringe benefit’.

No BDAR report

He notes that the law requires development applications to be accompanied by a Biodiversity Assessment Report (BDAR) if the proposed development is likely to significantly affect threatened species or ecosystems. 

Robertson SC contends the consent authority has no power to grant consent in its absence. He concludes: ‘….[if] the proposed development is likely to significantly affect threatened species, then the consent authority has no power to grant consent. No BDAR has been prepared and no concurrence has been given’.

SC Robertson also finds that the ‘Sustainability management plan’ in the development application contains no measures to remove threats of serious environmental damage, to maintain habitats, or to monitor and review the effects of the proposed development on the natural environment.

There is no undertaking to prepare a vegetation management plan for the site as a whole. Such a plan should already lie before the consent authority.

Robertson finds the DA’s proposals ‘too inchoate’, or rudimentary, to meet some of the stringent tests required by law.

Claims by SC Robertson were put to Council staff, who replied in part that ‘Council has obtained legal advice, which is privileged’.

They added the independent long-awaited review of the Linnaeus audit report had been delayed owing to ‘consultant availability and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions’.

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Lismore Lantern Parade – Vale John Lush

Once again the community of Lismore came together to celebrate with the Lantern Parade on June 25.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week in the Northern Rivers 

The Northern Rivers encompasses the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr and Yaegl nations with celebrations for NAIDOC taking place up and down the coast. 

Man charged following break and enter – Casino

A man has been charged following an investigation into an alleged break and enter at Casino.

Locals tix on offer for Writers Fest

Byron Writers Festival is again offering Sunday locals’ passes, supported for the third time by partners, Stone & Wood.