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Byron Shire
July 20, 2024

Fingal residents celebrate Cubby Bakehouse backdown over illegal development

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Fingal Head residents celebrate the removal of the illegal development of the commercial bakery from the DA for the Fingal General Store. Photo supplied

The illegal development of the Fingal General Store into a commercial bakery was ended on Tuesday when Cubby’s development application (DA) was modified to remove the commercial bakery.

The significant changes removed the application for a commercial bakery at the site and asked for a general store operating 7am to 7pm and a restaurant that would operate until 10pm seven-days a week.

While it was clear from councillor comments that the Fingal community were in support of the reopening of the Fingal General Store there was clear division on whether the community supported the 10pm opening hours seven days a week. Local residents fought against the extended opening hours for the restaurant and councillors Nola Firth (Greens) and Deputy Mayor Meredith Dennis (Independent) proposed limiting the hours to 7am – 7pm. This however, was voted down by Liberal councillors James Owen and Rhiannon Brinsmead along with conservative Cr Warren Polglse and Labor Cr Reece Byrnes. 

‘The site of the Fingal Store is zoned as a residential block of land amongst residential housing,’ explained local resident Vilia Hendry, ‘and it now can be open 7 nights a week for a restaurant till 10pm. 

‘The community that met with Cr Reece Byrnes and we felt that he understood our situation and the effect the 10pm would have on nearby neighbours. We were disappointed to see him not even acknowledge us at the meeting, let alone support us with the motions to change the hours to 7pm.’

No live music 

Cr Firth proposed a motion to ban amplified live music at the venue which Cr Owen argued vehemently against. Yet by consultation with staff it became apparent that no love music, let alone amplified live music, is allowed at the venue. 

Staff clarified that one of the conditions (condition 73) on the consent is that it must ‘comply with that noise level impact assessment’ and that the acoustic report did not ‘anticipate  live music… so therefore it’s not permitted by virtual condition 73’. 

Mayor Chris Cherry (Independent) argued that clarifying the type of music allowed at the venue would be clearer for future developers of the site but once again Crs Owen, Brinsmead, Polglase and Byrnes voted the amendment down. 

This means that the restaurant ‘can’t have live music inside or outside,’ explained Ms Hendry. ‘There is no outside seating for anything, even the takeaway cafe.’

The motion that the door leading to the carpark be fitted with a ‘soft close device to prevent noise nuisance’ put up by Crs Firth and Dennis was finally accepted by Owens after he spent significant time talking about fire doors, even though the staff clarified that fire doors could not have soft close devices otherwise they wouldn’t work as fire doors.  

General store and restaurant approved

The final vote to approve the general store and restaurant with restaurant hours til 10pm seven days a week was finally approved by Crs Owen, Brinsmead, Polglase, Byrnes and Cherry with Crs Firth and Meredith voting against. 

‘It was a great fight to get there,’ Ms Hendry told The Echo.

‘We are so proud of Mayor, Noala and Merideth for trying to support our community. Some of the Tweed councillors seem willing to break the laws of development in favour of the developers – so why can’t you support the community and their needs over developers?’

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  1. Byrnes siding with the Libs, pandering to their increasingly petulant, toddler like behaviour and not even acknowledging the local residents – wow!

    • Cr Byrnes was such a disappointment. He could have really help the community end the 10 pm late night every night of the week. Poor people who live in the village with their bedrooms so close. At least the live music is not allowed.

  2. It is a long drawn out and costly situation that could have been avoided with a little due diligence and true consideration of impact on this unique residential community that already struggles with environmental and traffic issues without any kind of business in operation!

    There seems to be some misconception in the community that many in objection are actually against any form of business when this is far from accurate! It was not until it was obvious by DA floor plans that the intention to convert an historical approved general store and post office (to service the community of which it is located) was more in line with an industrial facility that intended to operate in unreasonable hours (In a Residential zone!) and adding additional pressure on access to our homes and lifestyle.

    With increase of delivery trucks, patrons using under cover parking and additional bin collections, interrupted sleep etc, etc, etc, and the fact that we would lose the general store for an instagram destination bakery under the guise of “Gentrification” that bought forth genuine concern!
    Even more concerning was the discovery of electrical and ventilation installation without the authoritative approvals and certification required of all developers! There is a process to follow for good reason! An ethical and balanced council will consider all options and democratically move forward with clear guidance and leadership into the future.

    Mayor Chris Cherry, Deputy Mayor Meredith Dennis and Cr Nola Firth are commendable in their ability to fully explore the scope of the situation and work towards logical outcomes for all concerned. It was also commendable to see our Mayor keep the meeting progressing in a civilised manner.

    It would be nice to enjoy this beautiful piece of paradise again, without the pressure this situation has burdened not only residents but council as well! Lastly, I hope this situation never happens to those criticising we the “sensitive receivers” as Im absolutely positive they didn’t choose to live in an industrial area either!

  3. Ms Hendry does NOT speak for Fingal. Majority of Fingal look forward to having this venue and we feel horrible for everything the owners have been out through.

    • Those poor rich multimillionaire Cubby owners. How can you feel sorry for them and not your neighbours or community who were totally lied to and screwed over by Cubby. We all support a general store for the community. Your lack of feeling for us who live close to the facility is shocking.

    • Misinformation & disinformation was created from the moment the sale and dismantling of the general store/post office & bank agency occurred in 2021.
      Who is “we feel horrible for everything the owners have been out through.”? Show yourselves up and live next door to the busiest precinct of population for Fingal Head community… where do you live Adam, next door!
      What the owners of the General Store did was bring about a rift within the community for not revealing to the community their intent from the beginning of the construction phase until, forced to create a Development Application in late 2022. Tweed Shire Council must accept partial blame for not understanding the earlier request by N.S.W. Liquor & Gaming Licence and the massive increase of injection of electrification into the premises by Essential Energy, which was a required approval/non approval by council to accept or reject. No thought process was considered within the precinct of a residential area… remember this is a residential zoned area, not an industrial/shopping precinct.
      Its now July 2024 and disharmony still prevails to this day within the community of Fingal Head and will take many years to dismantle the hurt caused by the owners within the community.

  4. Ms Hendry speaks for most of those who live directly around or close to 50 Lighthouse parade as well as those who appreciate due diligence when it comes to development applications.

  5. When some councillors support and promote local businesses that attempt to fly under the radar without following legislated process, attempting to convert a residentially zoned site (Already elevated for a general store) to further elevation of an industrial facility operating from 4.30am to 12pm and deprive a community of a historical facility that has been an important pivotal platform for the village as a meeting place and that much appreciated convenience store and post office, then it raises a very large red flag that should those councillors attain further status, it will open the flood gates to a plethora of dodgy development without filters of previously, meticulously curated guidelines and will unravel the very fabric of zoning and planning overlays that have taken years to establish for the security and betterment of society! (Processes of which the rest of us must abide by so why not this developer?!)

    Every comment I’ve read demanding those of us that fought for transparency, rightful process and ethical common sense to prevail by following regulations and guidlines, to be ashamed of ourselves & for thwarting this businessman’s livelihood, I would ask to consider they actually review the facts in their entirety and ask yourselves if you would really want to continue to pay such a high price to live (without being your choice) in an industrial zone with delivery trucks and additional garbage trucks (from 4.30am & music until 12pm) & extreme difficulty actually accessing your driveway to your home, etc, etc, etc,! (Exhaust fumes from additional under cover parking and car doors and chatting all echoes through to neighbours homes!)

    1. proponent purchased a “General Store and Post Office” situated on Residential zoned land given special concession to operate as general Store and Post office to serve the community in which it was located!
    2. At any given time that concession is still effective and the proponent has had the opportunity to open the doors as General Store to the community at any point! So not operating is proponents choice!
    3. Proponent installed industrial electrical facility in nearby street & ventilation system again of an industrial size, without any DA in place. Full bakery facility was installed without due process including acoustic and environmental reports nor consideration of what those intense changes would inflict on the compact streetscape etc, Lighthouse Rd is already a dangerous bottleneck.
    4. General Store (of which it was elevated from Residential zone with special concession) area reduced to what equated to a few shelves under a window in an area that is the busiest with customers ordering their meals! Post office was Deleted altogether and with liquor licence being of importance to this buyer, it was highly concerning that there were plans for a cocktail bar upstairs as with their Paddock premisses.
    5. When works were halted and proponent generously allowed time to prepare a DA and accompanying reports, construction work was continually heard from the premises. Eventual DA stated they were reducing the hours of operation (which mislead you to think it would be open less) but it was actually increased from 4.30am (In a Residential Zone!) all under the smoke and mirrors of “Gentrification” A letter was distributed informing neighbours that a “Modern take on a General Store” was being created and no mention of industrial facility and yet floor plan clearly indicated this was NOT entirely factual!
    6. Traffic and parking issues surrounding this business model have proven it imposes intense pressure on their immediate environment of which Fingal already really struggles! Even without any business operating the traffic is absolutely hectic and only increasing! Traffic pressure on the only access Rd to the village would be choked and like areas around Byron Bay it could take more than half an hour to go a few k’s and potentially endanger lives when emergency vehicles etc, would also be detained.
    7. Subsequent amendments have continually been cryptic and purely time wasting & expensive exercises that tie up council resources unnecessarily and result in further unappreciated turmoil within the community.

    Fingal is a unique little hamlet that was designed in the early 20’s and holds strong heritage importance & distinctive flora and fauna that are worth our protection. Any additional pressures on parking and rubbish as we already see from Cubby would be the thing to be ashamed of!

    To all that have spoken up to bring this issue to light and have put up so much of their time and energy to add support to those of us in close proximity and to the valuable region in general, you bolster faith that there really is kindness and integrity in the community still! Your voices and huge efforts are certainly much appreciated!

    To the councillors whom honoured your commitment to serve your constituents and not just the developers…Thank you for your dignified professionalism! We the “Sensitive receivers” and those that cannot speak for themselves will be genuinely grateful and appreciative knowing there are those in authority who actually care!


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