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Byron Shire
April 15, 2024

Large Suffolk development heads to court

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The Suffolk Park Progress Association (SPPA) say they will request that elected councillors retain a decision-making role in a large mixed-use complex proposed for Clifford Street, after the Sydney-based developer commenced court proceedings against Council for refusal.

In a presentation to be given at this Thursday’s Council meeting, SPPA president, Donald Maughan, says that given the major concerns from the community, ‘We want community views to be represented, and we want the community be kept informed by our councillors throughout the case’.

Let down by West Byron representation

His speech reads, ‘Our Suffolk Park community’s concerns relating to the Land and Environment Court cases are validated by the way the West Byron development went in that same court’.

‘Decisions were made by staff on advice from Council’s external solicitors, with none of our elected Councillors at the table. That outcome left community with a feeling of capitulation and no representation in the process.

‘We, the Suffolk Park community, ask Council to urgently resolve today to retain their role as the decision makers in the court process and select a sub-group of councillors to have authority to make these decisions’.

Maughan says ‘Some, but not all of the community concerns are: 1. the development requiring use of neighbouring community land for APZ’s; 2. Totally inadequate parking allocation; 3. Exceeding height and bulk of the development; 4. Inaccurate traffic survey report; and 5. Building commercial development on R2 designated land’.

In response, Cr Duncan Dey says he has lodged an urgency motion, which reads in part that councillors only learned of the court case ‘last Friday’.

Urgency motion

His motion requests that ‘a group of three councillors be delegated authority, currently resting with the general manager, to make decisions arising out of the L&E Court case…’

The Echo asked the developers behind the controversial plan, Denwol, ‘Why isn’t Denwol seeking to negotiate in good faith with Council instead of going to court? Was Council’s rejection unreasonable, and if so, how?’

A Denwol spokesperson told The Echo that given the DA was before the court, it was ‘not appropriate to discuss the matter further at this time’. They did say, ‘We can confirm that prior to initiating LEC proceedings, we did endeavour to discuss the issues with Council’.

According to www.denwol.com.au, ‘Denwol is a Sydney-based diversified property group owned and controlled by Phillip Wolanski’.

Ralph James, Council’s Legal Counsel, told The Echo, ‘On July 19, 2022, the development application [DA 10.2022.137.1] was refused by Council. On September 9, 2022, the applicant commenced proceedings in Class 1 of the Land and Environment Court’s jurisdiction, appealing against Council’s refusal of the development application.

‘The appeal is listed for a Conciliation Conference on February 3, 2023’.


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1 COMMENT

  1. The Land and Environment Court needs to understand the concerns of the local communities. Unfortunately, it seems to have been harnessed by Lawyers that are highly selective in submitting their Anthropocentric/Capitalist presentations by effectively dismissing Public/Ecological Rights and the imperative protocols that uphold Democratic Institutions that support Human/Ecological Rights. West Byron is a perfect example of legal bias. In order to achieve the West Byron Development Application Byron Council Lawyers negotiated ‘behind closed doors’, they succeeded in dismissing the Rights of Nature to exist on a Flood Plain, dismissed the of multitudes of resistance/petitions by the Byron Community and finally succeeded in violating the integrity of Public Rights in order to achieve a successful outcome for Developers. A witness to this event described the process as ‘woeful”. Thus the community is left to face a bleak future as the current West Byron Development proceeds with mega-tonnages of Fill which will succeed in dramatically elevating Floods on the actual site and the immediate environs such as the Sunrise Industrial Estate, businesses, communities, sewage works , Bird Sanctuary and Tourist Resort! The outstanding question remains..Did the Lawyers present to the Court a Hydrologists Report addressing development imperatives on this Floodplain? Or was wilful ignorance employed? Its the Sixth Extinction. Councillors please Democratically represent the community on these MOST URGENT issues. Farewell Dominic and your cashed up Cronies.

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