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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

Operation Save Wallum gains momentum

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Some Byron Shire councillors have jumped on board the campaign to save rare ecological land slated for urban development in Bayside, Bruns. A motion by Cr Duncan Dey is proposed for this Thursday’s Council meeting which, if passed, would require scrutiny on the conditions of the DA, and refer it to the federal government for review as a matter of national environmental significance. Pictured are ecologist James Barrie, councillor Duncan Dey, and environmentalist, Nan Nicholson, with councillors, Mayor Michael Lyon, activists and concerned neighbours.
Photo Jeff ‘More trees, please’ Dawson

The campaign to preserve rare environmentally sensitive land in Brunswick Heads from becoming urban development is stepping up, after a big community event was held on Sunday at Paddock Project in Mullum. 

The day of art, culture, live music and workshops saw more than 300 locals gather to unify in the movement, organisers told The Echo.

The Save Wallum group is calling on Byron Shire councillors to vote ‘Yes’ to an upcoming Notice of Motion by Cr Duncan Dey requiring scrutiny into the conditions of the DA, and referring it to NSW and federal governments over serious ecological concerns. 

15 Torakina Road, Brunswick Heads. Google maps

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.

With public consultation for the development taking place during the worst of the Covid pandemic, Save Wallum say the public were denied the right to have their say. 

The DA is proposed by Clarence Property and was decided by an unelected body, the Northern Regional Planning Panel, in May. 

The panel determines large developments deemed ‘significant’, and as such, bypasses the due processes of locally-elected councils. 

‘Wallum Estate’ features 124 residential lots, three medium density lots and a series of roads and supporting infrastructure.

Save Wallum’s James Barrie told The Echo, ‘There has been a 25-year history of ecologist opposition to this development that has been ignored and even extinguished in the name of developer rights’. 

‘It’s only that the community has now coordinated significant vocal opposition to this development, after learning about what they stand to lose at the eleventh hour, that this is getting the attention it deserves’. 

Veteran environmentalist, Nan Nicholson, said, ‘This place is extraordinarily valuable as part of the state’s coastal ecosystems’. 

‘These systems have dwindled so rapidly in the past 20 years, that any further encroachment has to be seen as “extremism”.  

‘As habitats collapse and species extinctions accelerate, it is not unreasonable to say “not one hectare more can be lost”. 

‘If any councillors believe that one should pick one’s battles and fight only when assured of winning, then remember that we were told exactly that when we started campaigning to save the Terania Creek rainforest 50 years ago.  

‘Not only was Terania Creek rescued but 120,000 ha of rainforest in NSW were saved as well’.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s object to every development that is proposed in Byron Shire (which currently happens) so that rents and property prices continue to rise. I challenge anyone to find a site in the Shire that would not attract opponents.

    • Tallowood went ahead without any protest, they tried to develop a site on saddle road – no protest. These were appropriate sites for development….. this is not one of them.
      Only 1% of this heathland is left in the Byron shire…. It’s precious, it’s rare, it’s not appropriate for development at all.

  2. This talk about public consultation in the worst of the pandemic during Covid lockdown is rubbish! I walked down to the consultation day quite freely, no mask, no restrictions, no lockdowns at all. Plenty of others did too. Please do a bit more investigating before peddling these lies Echo!

    • While you might have gone to their box-ticking, 3 hour ‘consultation day’ many people were distracted by larger issues to do with Covid at the time.
      The bigger point here is that ecologists have been saying for decades that this land deserves to be preserved. It will wipe out the last vestige of Wallum heathland in the shire if allowed to proceed.

  3. True Gazinger, but this an unique & extraordinary piece land… There was a big more environmental sustainable development on saddle rd on farm land that was knocked back a couple of years ago???
    Is it the developers with the deepest pockets able to push anything thru, such as West Byron??
    Yes l agree we need somewhere for people to live but shouldn’t we be using deforested land, that will have the benefit of housing people & adding to a already deforested environment? Win, win, l reckon.
    And that is out of potential flood land to do this?
    Regards Colin

  4. Colin the land proposed to be developed at Wallum IS deforested land. The bush land and habitat parts of the site are being retained. There is a lot of noise being made about 200 trees being removed etc but from what I’ve read it is only 21 trees. I also attended the community consultation as a resident and it was definitely not during lockdown. I was able to ask questions and was happy with the responses. I would be happy to live there and enjoy access to the creek which isn’t currently publicly accessible.

  5. Objectors need to pick their battles or risk being seen as obstructionists only. There is a serious need for housing in the region – regardless of whether it is considered premium or otherwise. It is obvious from the satellite image in the article that the houses are going on land that has been predominantly cleared (and by the looks of it, zoned) for this purpose – the adjacent and extrodinary rainforest areas are generally being maintained from what I can see on Council’s DA plan website.

    Yes vegegetation needs to be removed to facilitate construction but I don’t see there being a suitable site area in the Northern Rivers for 127 homes which would not necessitate some vegetation removal.

  6. We will have to confront these developments and encroachments onto natural lands endlessly, until we address the elephant in the room of endless population growth at a national level. If we are expecting to have a sustainable population where destruction of more land is not needed, what year are we expecting that to occur, what population will Australia be when we say we are big enough? Most would say 27 million is enough, lets aim for a stable population and a sustainable economy today. We’d have no need to bulldoze anymore coastal land.

    If you believe Australia should grow at 2% per annum population for decades to come, then objecting to developments like Wallum is ridiculous. Millions more people will need millions more houses. True greens need to actually face facts and the core issues.

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