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Byron Shire
July 16, 2024

Broken Head Quarry DA refused

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Preliminary Concept Layout Plan of the the Broken Head quarry site, which is located on Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park. Image: Council agenda

Plans to build a housing estate on part of the old Broken Head Quarry site were rejected last week by  Byron Shire councillors.

Owners sought a rezoning, to pave the way for around 92 residential lots and a host of associated road, water, and sewerage infrastructure. Staff recommended against the proposal on environmental, cultural, and planning grounds.

Councillors not only elected to oppose the plan, but also added an additional clause in a bid to prevent further applications.

‘I’m trying to stop a DA from happening on this site,’ said Cr Peter Westheimer (Independent) who moved that the additional clause be added.

‘It’s a big site, and a very important and precious site in terms of the Byron Shire. I don’t want [residential Development Applications] to keep bobbing up.’

Broken Head quarry photo used in the 1997 DA/EIS process. Photo Supplied

Complaints

The site of the former quarry, located on Broken Head Road, has a long history, having been the subject of community complaints since the 1980s.

The proposal is now set to proceed to the DPE for determination.

in 1993, the Council approval of the quarry was overturned by the Land & Environment Court. 

In 1997, the quarry DA was the subject of a Commission of Inquiry, which ultimately granted approval for a reduced area and period of sand and gravel extraction and rehabilitation.

In 2014, after quarry operation had ceased, the owners sought a 41-lot residential development, which was refused by Council on the grounds that it would impact threatened species and areas of Aboriginal cultural significance.

In 2018, the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) negotiated an ‘enforceable undertaking’ with the owners of the site under which the former quarry site would be rehabilitated.

Last week’s meeting heard that the latest proposal appeared to be an attempt to circumvent that enforceable undertaking.

‘It’s pretty clear that what they’re doing is simply trying to avoid that [undertaking], and seek approval for something else, so that when the something else gets approved everything else that’s come before just gets wiped away,’ Mayor Michael Lyon (Independent) said.

In an attempt to head this strategy off at the pass councillors voted to not only oppose the planning proposal before it goes to the DPE for approval, but to write to the DPE asking for ‘clarity’ around the 2018 undertaking and whether it has been adhered to.

‘From a Council point of view, I think we should be as clear as possible about what the constraints on this site are, and what the owner’s obligations are in terms of rehabilitating it,’ Cr Westheimer said.

The proposal is now set to proceed to the DPE for determination.


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