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Byron Shire
December 8, 2022

Contempt governs West Byron DA

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Byron Council has to be held to public account in relation to aspects of the current development approval underlying the West Byron development. Reviewing research reveals how imperative risk and safety processes have been contemptuously dismissed by Byron legal authorities, who are employed to address public safety (let alone ecological integrity), thereby hastening development approval and setting a very dangerous precedent for future developments on floodplains in the region. Still no flood-mitigation plan exists and no management plan addressing tonnages of fill. It must also be noted that hydrologist and Byron councillor Duncan Dey has publicly noted ‘peak flood levels do rise when fill is introduced into a floodplain’.

In his submission to Byron Council in 2018, Dailan Pugh notes: ‘The proposal is to fill most of the site to 0.5m above assessed flood level, with the importation of some 500,000 m3, though both DAs fail to identify the quality and source of the fill, or the impacts that thousands of truck movements will have on both traffic and road. This fill is likely to have high levels of suspended solids, organic material, and pollutants which, in high-rainfall events, will flow onto the properties of the three adjacent land owners to the south-west, yet the likely and potential impacts of this on the amenity of the landowners has not been considered in accordance with Clauses l and 3(c) of the Byron Shire LEP 1988, 98b Earthworks’. The new climate change epoch of 2022 has revealed flood levels experienced by Northern Rivers communities that far exceed recorded history! As such, the potential for existing Byron communities to undergo serious flooding are intensified by this development, which contemptuously dismisses existing safety legalities. In 2022 Dailan Pugh notes original fill levels ‘may have changed’.

Furthermore, The Echo (7 September) notes that, ‘One DA is owned by a “locals” consortium, who won considerable concessions behind closed doors at a court mediation with Council’s consultant lawyers’. Tom Vidal, a local landowner, was concerned about drainage and flooding for the DAs, and stated that cmpared to Terry Agnew ‘our local mates were not so understanding, …the secret court negotiations were woeful… to ask residents to make submissions to the court without notifying us that most points of contention (traffic, stormwater, drainage, social impacts etc, etc) were conceded already was quite unbelievable’.

This evidence is a stark example of contempt. 

‘Is there anybody out there?’

Jo Faith, Newtown

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  1. We have in Byron council , one of the worst councils in the history of Byron ,
    Byron Bay is finished , it’s golden days are behind it . let free to be ruined by developers and GREED,
    just look what’s about to be built on the old woolies site in Jonson st ,

    Common sense is now an endangered species . to build on flood prone land is beyond stupid , the West Byron site flooded
    during the floods earlier this year , where will the water go once the site is fully developed ?
    to ask locals to submit objections to the West Byron Development over many years , and then to not listen to them is the ultimate in Contempt.

    Some of the landowners (Locals DA ) for the West Byron development run large businesses in this town , and used to be on Council ..
    , mates in council looking after past council mates.

    We need and independent investigation as to how this large DA was allowed to go ahead , and WHY none of the concerns from locals were addressed.

    If the Sunrise residential area of Byron ends up flooding due the West Byron , and all the other crazy Large industrial sites being developed without proper stormwater drainage assessments , will council compensate us ??

    Unfortunately there is not yet a vaccine against stupidity !!!!!!!!!

    • The reason this happened is because of the old councils constantly rejecting suitable, smaller scale housing developments (golden days you say?)

      if you don’t do proper planning for sustainable growth, and try to stop all growth, then higher powers are going to come in at dictate what happens, which is what has happened here with state significant development status

      years ago there was a proposal for a sustainably sized development at the same location, that was rejected by Jan BArham’s council (golden days you say) and this is what you get and deserve for saying NO NO NO to everything.

      • The site is wetlands. It was cleared for agriculture, but because the water table is just below ground level, generally no crops or food trees will grow there, and it is unfit for livestock. There was proper planning – we had far in excess of housing development than Council or the State govts Far North Strategy identified we needed. The site was investigated by Council and particularly due to its permanently water logged, and thus flood liable status, it was rejected. Councils then Development Director attempted to raise that the development will push flood water elsewhere, but Councils flood expertise was ignored.
        The same Council planner that bought the Council Report that rejected development, then became employed by the developers and did a 360 with a new developers report that said developing it would be fine! There was never a “proposal for a sustainably sixed development” – NSW Planning Minister, on behalf of the site owners, declared it an urban release area, despite Councils existing planning for future housing development. Post the state gov declaring it an urban release area the subsequent proposals were all massive and far in excess of projected housing needs, and NOT “a sustainably sized development at the same location”. And be aware that of the two parts of the development, the existing caravan park, under the state SEPP, could have been developed into a low cost permanent residential manufactured Housing Estate – ie we have lost a potential site for low cost housing, to be replaced by $M1+ investor driven returns holiday letting townhouses. The wisdom of not building on a floodplain has been rejected. The wisdom of not pushing flood waters into the industrial estate, Sunrise and the CBD has been rejected. The wisdom of provision of low cost housing by redeveloping the existing caravan park has been rejected, because of making $$$$. We will be paying the cost of these bad decisions, but some people will make $M100’s and walk away

    Those in power abrogated their responsibility & duty to protect the longer term safety of residents in nearby areas of this development..
    Volumes of water can move distances very quickly & THIS development could possibly make parts of town suffer greater inundation in adverse weather occurrences…..


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