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Byron Shire
September 28, 2023

Housing estate draws criticism over native species clearing

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15 Torakina Road, Brunswick Heads. Google maps

Hundreds of locals are rallying together in a bid to save a large pocket of ecologically significant bushland in Brunswick Heads from development. The 30-hectare site at 15 Torakina Road, next to the Bayside housing estate, is home to scores of native trees and flowers, which provide food and shelter to koalas, black cockatoos, gliders and the ‘vulnerable’ Wallum froglet.

However, the site has been approved for a major housing development, known as Wallum, featuring 124 residential lots, three medium density lots and a series of roads and supporting infrastructure.

With public consultation for the development taking place during the worst of the Covid pandemic, many locals feel that they were denied the right to have their say.

A ‘Wallum Froglet, (Crinia tinnula). Photo Wikimedia

They are now demanding that the decision to approve the development, made by the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) in May this year, be reversed.

‘Wallum wildflowers and the intricately-linked Wallum froglet habitat are rare, and cannot be re-made or replanted successfully by humans, and deserve unreserved protection in our Shire,’ said James Barrie, one of the leaders of the conservation campaign. 

In its Development Application, Clarence Property says that over 18 hectares, or 60 per cent of the site, will be retained and enhanced as conservation zones. They say this will effectively negate any impact on native species.

Yet Mr Barrie describes it as offset green-washing. ‘The ecological offsets detailed in the “landscape plan” come up seriously short and are grossly inaccurate in claims of preserving the ecology on the ground’, he said.

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  1. “With public consultation for the development taking place during the worst of the Covid pandemic, many locals feel that they were denied the right to have their say.”

    Let’s just think about that statement for a moment. Sooo, during that period…..

    – the environment wasn’t important to them, but now it is?
    – they lost the ability to read and write a response?
    – their internet connection was permanently down?
    – they slept for a couple of years?

    And who are these “MANY” locals who were “DENIED the right” to have their say?

    Let’s face it. Not a single person was “DENIED” their right to have their say.

    Maybe they didn’t bother to have their say, but they certainly weren’t denied it.

    Big difference.

    It wasn’t important then, but suddenly it’s critically important now?

    Come on mate.

    Fluffiest, illogical story.

    Echo-magnified NIMBY’s.

    The main reason we can’t get affordable housing in the Byron Shire.

    Please. Spare us.

  2. Kaye, Extinction crisis. Protect threatened species & their habitats where they occur. FYI that’s actually the law. Incremental loss eventually equals extinction…. just look at koalas between the Tweed & Brunswick Rivers…. two decades ago they were described as a key thriving healthy population in extensive habitat. Now that population is listed as an Endangered Population. I’ve seen koalas at this very site. Incremental, illegal clearing has slowly occurred here for decades, followed by regular slashing under the guise of “routine agriculture” to keep the cleared bits clear, despite never being any agriculture.

    Developers say they’re providing more affordable housing, but in this shire it’s always top end, maximum profits & never affordable.
    Everything has a place, especially rigorous environmental impact assessment. This appears to be a double failure – both the proponents & the Council staff who passed it.

  3. @ John + Doe
    Get Real! This is slated for a luxury housing estate – nothing ‘affordable’ about it in any way, shape or form. Get off your high horse and smell the wildflowers. And yes, the entire world was distracted while COVID was happening. This is real.


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