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Byron Shire
September 22, 2023

Editorial: All hail, Supreme Unelected Planning Overlord

Latest News

Tricky traffic on Terania as rail bridge repairs go ahead

In what is rumoured to be an indefinite closure, motorists have been advised that Terania Street, Lismore, will be closed to all traffic between Tweed and Peate streets from 7pm today as a result of damage to a rail bridge.

Other News

Spring Equinox Spirit Fest 

Come to Murwillumbah for a magical day of harmony and joy at the Spring Equinox Spirit Fest. Organisers say ‘As the sun crosses the celestial equator, marking the beginning of a new season, we gather to celebrate the spirit of renewal, growth, and togetherness. This enchanting family-friendly event is on Saturday where all ages are invited to partake in a day filled with music, art, and shared experiences.

Cycling race in Lismore this weekend to raise money for Westpac Rescue Helicopter

Whether it is getting on the track or watching the cyclists there are plenty of ways to get on board with the Lismore 2023 – Byron Bay Cycle Club Road Race this Sunday 24, September in Lismore’s CBD.

Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra is a Real Gem

Season two of the Gold Coast Chamber Orchestra sees performances of Classical Gems conducted by Chen Yang in two shows with concert one on Sunday, 24 September at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre and concert two on Sunday, 8 October at Bond University.

Options explored to save Bruns native habitat

Byron Council could seek federal government intervention in a last-ditch effort to protect a pocket of precious bushland in Brunswick Heads from development.

The Smoking Camel partners with Brookie’s Gin to create a Turkish Delight Gin!

Byron Bay’s newest Middle Eastern restaurant, The Smoking Camel, has partnered with Brookie’s Gin to create a Turkish Delight Gin. A passion project between the two brands and owners Kim Stephen (The Smoking Camel) and Eddie Brook (Brookie’s Gin), the gin is emblematic of the close-knit Byron Bay community, and combines The Smoking Camel’s signature Middle Eastern flavours with Brookie’s expertise in gin making.

Council to discuss use of consultants at closed-door workshop

Byron councillors will explore the amount Council spends on external consultants and potential conflicts of interest, following a long and, at times, spiteful debate last week.

I CYMI, Marcus Ray, Deputy Secretary NSW Planning, has been bestowed enormous powers by an ineffectual and weak NSW Labor planning minister. He interferes with councils that are failing to fast-track developments in a national housing crisis.

Lismore City Council was stripped of their planning powers in March. 

Those councillors resisted, and the decision was reversed in June.

When Byron Council received the same threat, Mayor Michael Lyon folded like a cheap suit and released a grovelling press release promising His Planning Majesty that Byron Council will do whatever he wants.

It’s not a great look to appease bullies, but in late stage crony capitalism, bullies take centre stage. 

What do the local Labor party members think of NSW planning minister Paul Scully’s apparent disinterest in his job? 

He passes all responsibility to unelected bureaucrats. 

Since Scully inherited the botched flood funding roll-out from the previous Liberal-National government in March, he has done nothing to assure us there is accountable and responsible governance. 

Anyway, His Planning Majesty also reckons Council’s development application (DA) processing times are among the slowest in the state. 

Of course they are – it’s a small council that is hammered by large tourism numbers, and in many cases, inappropriate DA submissions that consume staff time.

Tighter DA rules to firmly guide very wealthy speculating developers would probably do wonders for processing times.

The big obstacle that prevents unfettered, large-scale, fast-track developments in Byron Shire is the lack of appropriate land. 

Much of the region is either flood-prone, fire-prone or too steep. 

This was confirmed by the DPE spokesperson. 

What wasn’t mentioned was that the Shire is also covered by some of the most unique and rare biodiversity in the state. 

How will these planning constraints be reflected in the state’s fast-track planning templates?

The mayor also told His Planning Majesty, through the media release, that there are ‘some misconceptions around Byron Shire Council due to a reputation in the past for being anti-development. I believe our community is accepting of the need for more housing, but it is important that we go on this journey together over the coming months as we finalise the residential strategy’.

What ‘anti-development reputation’? Cr Lyon and his pro-development mates have controlled Council for 11 years! 

Perhaps that comment was to distract from questions of competence? 

It must be awkward to be the type of politician who wants to develop at all costs, yet is unable to make any progress. Such ambition would be better suited elsewhere, perhaps? Damn all that biodiversity!

It’s also hilarious that the mayor thinks we need to ‘go on this journey together’, because there is nothing to indicate that we have in the past. 

Making secret land deals with the discredited Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation, as just one example, is not a shared journey.  

Time to get engaged people! 

It’s the only way to steer the ship away from the bleached dead coral reefs that mindless, unsustainable development delivers.

Hans Lovejoy, editor

News tips are welcome: [email protected]

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