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Byron Shire
August 14, 2022

Vale Byron Bay

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Have you been to Byron Bay lately? Byron is fast becoming a low-rise Gold Coast, or any other nondescript tourist town. Mullum is fast becoming Byron. 

If you dare to briefly take your fingers from your eyes, check out the latest constructions: opposite Mitre 10, next to Vinnies and the end of Marvell Street opposite the Rec ground, amongst others. The old Byron Woolies site is fenced now, the redevelopment of it and the previous backpackers’ site next door is about to take off. There are many more waiting in the wings

The Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) rejected the original plans for ‘Johnson Lane,’ largely owing to the nine-metre height limits for this area. The developers submitted new plans that were below the cost threshold requiring it to be sent to the NRPP for approval. Council staff approved the new plans, even though they were still above the nine-metre height limit. Why did the councillors approve it?

This must be why so many people voted for Michael Lyon in the last council election?

Height limits are crucial for council planners and councillors to enforce in order to stem the flow of ugly, commercially driven developments.

The dream was to do it differently here. Once the appeal of the alternate lifestyle became a drawcard it was co-opted by big business and transformed into mainstream uniformity. Overdevelopment goes hand in hand with the over promotion that results in mass tourism. Where is the unique character of Byron Bay that it was once so well known for?

Can the power of the people compete with the power of the dollar? Start reading the DAs, everyone, and put pressure on your elected councillors.

Kathryn McConnochie, Byron Bay

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