21 C
Byron Shire
September 17, 2021

Senior Counsel says Byron Council acted illegally

Latest News

COVID update includes trial of home quarantine

When media were told that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian would be at today's 11am update, we expected big news – the Premier said last week she would only attend the updates if it were important news.

Other News

Post not boast

There are a plethora of new websites promoting Byron, posting surf and beach ‘porn’ shots with dolphins leaping and...

Always full of surprises

Mullumbimby-born farmer, Glenyce Creighton, has been on her property in Myocum for 40 years. Originally the farm was a...

Lismore’s plateau Lizard will sleep no more

The last time the Lismore Mayor and Councillor met in the Goonellabah chambers, there was a historic decision to hand back culturally sensitive land to the local Indigenous people. In a sequel to the fate of the Lismore plateau, traditionally known as the Sleeping Lizard, the outcome was a little differen

Creatives feature in Lismore plan

Creative industries, climate resilience, building more homes and supporting a flourishing food sector are all aspirations within a 15-year vision for Lismore.

Banned bunnies

Did you know that pet bunnies are banned in Queensland? But not in New South Wales! We’ve all seen the...

Printmakers make their mark at Tweed Regional Gallery

A new exhibition featuring the work of some of Australia’s leading printmakers has been installed and is ready to be enjoyed by visitors when the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre reopens tomorrow.

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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

How is RT-PCR used to diagnose COVID-19?

It’s fast, reliable and full of lines – but might look different to the PCR you learned about in school.

Queensland passes voluntary assisted dying laws

Dying with Dignity NSW has welcomed the passage of Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) laws in Queensland and is hoping that NSW Parliament resumes next month so that this issue can be addressed in NSW without further delay.

Planning staff back Wilsons Creek DA, residents’ concerns downplayed

Residents living near a proposed 15-lot housing development in Wilsons Creek say it will negatively impact a precious wildlife corridor on the site, exacerbate traffic safety problems on the surrounding roads, and damage the peaceful character of their quiet enclave.

A moment of your life?

Six questions for Jehovah’s Witness doorknockers: 1. Are you aware that the 2016 Royal Commission into Institutional Handling of Child Sexual Abuse investigated 1006 alleged...