23.8 C
Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

EPA investigates Council over creek soil dumping/stockpiling

Latest News

Swivel by name, drivel by nature

The lack of authenticity of Byron Councillor, Mark Swivel, does not come as a surprise from this side of...

Other News

A play that puzzles and delights

The multi-award-winning play is a puzzle of scenes that are slowly put together by the audience to tell the...

V-Day returns to Byron Bay, February 14

A mass global action, One Billion Rising, which aims to end violence against women and children, is planned for V-Day on February 14, Main Beach, Byron Bay from 7am.

Vale Professor Will Steffen – leading climate scientist

Leading climate scientist Professor Will Steffen has died of pancreatic cancer in Canberra at 75.

Connecting youth at the Quad

Connect Northern Rivers will be hosting a youth-focused event at the Lismore Quad on Wednesday, 8 February from 3.30...

Indigenous cricketers go head-to-head

Regional teams came together at Ballina’s Fripp Oval for an Indigenous cricket challenge carnival on January 26, last week. The...

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is...

Executive Council staff have refused to answer key questions around a large amount of soil that was dumped on Marshalls Creek floodplain in The Pocket recently, which is believed to be stockpiled for Council infrastructure projects.

Last week’s story, Soil dumping on Marshalls Creek, found to be Council’s stockpile, reported that staff only became involved after Cr Duncan Dey raised the issue; previous attempts by concerned residents to contact staff fell on deaf ears.

The EPA has told The Echo it was not notified of the issue, ‘and will enquire with Byron Shire Council about the site and material’.  

Delegated authority

The matter was already under ‘delegated authority’ by staff, which so far, has seen the landowner at 295 Pocket Road, The Pocket, escape a fine and be given over four months to remove the fill.

Such unauthorised works usually attract large fines and immediate restoration orders.

On December 19, Council published a press release, There is no tolerance for illegal dumping. 

It was in response to ‘reports of a pile of asbestos fibro sheeting that had been dumped in and around kerbside bins in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate’. It was cleaned up immediately, ‘because of the potential threat to public health and safety’.

An urgency motion at the last Council meeting by Cr Dey to immediately act on the soil dumping in The Pocket was unsupported by a councillor majority; Mayor Michael Lyon, Crs Mark Swivel, Peter Westheimer and Alan Hunter voted against.

When questioned online by a concerned resident around Mayor Michael Lyon’s ‘inaction and risk avoidance’ on the matter, he downplayed any urgency and supported staff over the residents who initially raised the issue. 

Mayor Lyon downplays impacts, supports staff

He replied, ‘I just don’t need to put through an “urgency” motion of Council in order to get the necessary action from staff in relation to the matter. I am very confident the matter will be dealt with appropriately by staff’.

Cr Dey says there is urgency owing to the potential for environmental damage, given the wet season and the extended timeframe given for remediation.   

Council’s Legal Counsel, Ralph James, told The Echo, ‘Following the December 15, 2022, Ordinary Meeting, where Cr Dey’s Urgency Motion was not supported by Council, the Director Infrastructure Services, Phil Holloway, has directed the Manager Works and other relevant staff to undertake certain assessments of the fill on the property and to report findings to the General Manager [Mark Arnold]’.

The Echo asked, ‘Will these findings be made public, and if not, why?’

Echo questions put to Council staff last week that remain unanswered are: ‘Why are staff allowing the landowner over four months to remove this soil? Aren’t staff concerned that this poses an immediate pollution risk to the creek?’ and, ‘Are there any reports that underpin the decision to allow such a delayed removal?’

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.


  1. Council also have questions to answer on the dumping of concrete and demolished waste near the creek at Bangalow Showgrounds. Any other contractor would remove this to landfill, but council contractors just dumped it all on the far side of the horse paddock.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Land values rise

Your cover story on 25 January claims that land valuation rises could herald increases in Council rates. This is potentially misleading. A council’s total...

Go Thistles!

Lismore Thistles Soccer Club has launched the Thistles Acceleration Program, in the process becoming the city’s only player development academy. 

Pothole protest gets immediate results

Psst: want to get Council staff to do something about the appalling state of roads in your neighbourhood? Organise a protest outside Mullum’s Council Chambers! By...

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Art imitates life in What’s Love Got to Do with It? a 2022 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Shekhar Kapur, from a screenplay by Jemima Khan.  The precis reads: ‘Set between London and Lahore, a filmmaker documents her childhood friend and neighbour’s arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan.’