22 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2021

Bio-energy vs biodiversity

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I thank The Echo for so clearly informing the readers of the ongoing concerns of Byron Bird Buddies and Byron community members when addressing the proposed installation of the Council led Bioenergy Facility to be situated in the environs of the Byron Sewage Plant (STP). This is an area noted as ‘one of the foremost hot spots for Avian Biodiversity in the Northern Rivers, indeed NSW’. It is further noted that the DA for the Bioenergy Facility ‘fails to address this concern’ and ‘that the Bioenergy DA is deficient and misleading and as a result, ‘the Northern Regional Planning Panel will lack reliable information by which to accurately assess the proposal and its impacts’.

 Addressing the rights of nature it can be seen that Council have been totally remiss when developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and ignoring any findings lodged with Council during Byron Bird Buddies regular monitoring programmes of Byron Wetlands since 2006.

Byron Bird Buddies are a committed Civil Society group of people who are highly respected in the community as carers, educators and a voice for the rights of nature. They have not been acknowledged in the planning phase of environmental changes and the potential negative effects of the Bioenergy Facility upon bird habitat.

Indeed, Council continues exhibiting contempt for community that has been illustrated during recent developments. Examples abound. The development of the Byron bypass and destruction of wetlands, endangered species and the highly organised Butler Street community is a perfect example of the wilfully ignorant Anthropocene. Just ask the endangered Mitchell’s rainforest snail whose fate was stamped by faulty ecological ‘expertise’.

The development of the ‘Green Mercato’ building, which proceeded, ignoring community demands for  ‘Best Practice’ during the removal of asbestos. Council chose to ignore academic expert advice and implemented the policy of best practice ‘after’ the completion of the building. It has since sold for millions of dollars. The highly toxic seepage into the Belongil from the old tip, the former Market Place, did concern the former mayor who informed Extinction Rebellion activists to remove their demonstration against the Bypass as ‘they were in great danger’. They were standing in ‘contaminated waters’, no doubt seeping from the old tip and a ‘fire risk’. Toxins do explode and create dangerous fires. The Belongil continues to suffer.

To continue, the full on debacle of the development of West Byron, which has set Sydney Real Estate Agents into gleeful bliss. The Market is over the moon as potential investors await this development with the promise of ‘making a motsa’, just like Mercato. Then we come to the ongoing development of ‘Elements Resort’ and the warnings of Dailan Pugh against the ongoing malpractices and violations against the Rights of Nature and the survival of Birdlife including Migratory Birds. Here again we read in his report a startling condemnation of ‘Ecological expertise’. The chainsaws rarely stop as this development awaits further support from Council to develop ‘homes’ on the foreshore.

And finally, the dismissal of the LEP by annointed Mayor, Michael (Women ‘Stick to your Patch‘) Lyon who claims to understand Council protocol, the LEP, and the stringent hard work by community to dismiss any attempt to change building heights in Byron; thus avoiding the not-so-classy Gold Coast look! Michael let the community down by assuming the role of ‘bush lawyer’. How will Michael react to Hollywood in Byron? Hollywood likes Byron, but does it care for the environs, height restrictions and rights of nature? Will Council really support development height principles?

The Byron Bird Buddies must be fully supported in calling for an adequate EIS ‘for the entire wetland site, not merely limited to the 0.8 hectares in which the current EIS was conducted’. The community will reap the beauty of nature and [support] the rights of nature to exist on safe habitat. We owe it to future generations of sentient life. A recent report (ABC Science) report that 89 per cent of Global Wetlands have diminished… a salient warning to Byron Shire.

Jo Faith, Newtown

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