Council’s guiding Community/Social/Environment Policy of ‘Going down the Gurgler’ is going well. The hard-fought No Club Med and subsequent Becton campaigns, to retain a socially acceptable, environmentally responsive development on the now Elements land, were given the boot by the last ‘Give it all away to the Developers’ Council.
Becton’s proposal of 600+ cabins was driven down by the 2004–08 councillors, to a state government consent for an increase from 40 existing cabins to 140 tourist cabins with 57 hectares to be handed to the adjacent nature reserve.
Becton, in my opinion, commenced their DA by purchasing the internal road from Council, redeveloped it with parking to facilitate their development, and handed the road back to Council. The Becton consent was then sold to the present Elements owners. The last Council alleged the Becton DA had not been commenced, gave new consents for now 202 villas, and has effectively given the hectares back to Elements, and rezoned it for them to now sell as house blocks (with commercial cafe etc zoning).
What was to be handed back to the public estate, to enhance the adjacent nature reserve, is now for sale by the Elements owners for $160 million. Of course ratepayers will have to pay to ensure roads, power, water and sewerage are maintained to these blocks, while the dunes they are on collapse into the sea. And the latest on this development’s related sustainability re, for example, emissions from Council’s bioenergy methane gas-powered electricity plant – existing commercial operators fermenting methane from green waste have proactively stated that the greenhouse emissions offsets from such processes don’t offset.
There won‘t be surf life savers rescuing us from the 3–7-metre sea-level rise that will inevitably destroy Byron Bay, and don’t make too much noise if drowning – it may disturb the owners of the $160m site’s house blocks, and Council takes noise complaints seriously.