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Red Alert for Byron Shire

Say no more to Open Sores
If developers get their way 
Would make Byron Shire like Gaza
The most populated land on earth!

[PN: Received this urgent note from Jim Beatson, a resident of Byron Shire. The poem and images are mine. – Ian Curr, November 2015.]

Most of us in Byron Shire have our own personal email lists, it’s time to use them. Mayor Simon Richardson and Councillor Paul Spooner are calling on all residents of our Shire to act URGENTLY to save Byron Bay and its environment from being destroyed by the 108 hectare West Byron development by sending them an objection to Council’s Development Control Plan.

carpet snake at aunty tom's

Carpet Snake at Mullumbimby in Byron Shire

This development is bigger than all of Mullumbimby. The West Byron site is on the opposite side of Ewingsdale Road to the OziGo BP servo in Byron Bay.

Councillors paid off
With brown paper bags 
While the Rich bask and play 
Don't give up, let's have our say 
Even though the tide against us 
Relentless and is strong 
Fight the bullshit 
Say no more to Open Sores

It is due by 4pm on Friday December 4, 2015. You now have 6 working days. Don’t put it off.

byron classic

They and the Byron Residents Group are calling on you to send this email to everyone you know in Byron Shire who is on your personal email list, ASAP, and ask them to send a Submission on the Council’s DCP and send this email onto their email lists! Email your submission to submissions and send a copy to Byron Residents’ Group (brg2481) so they know how many submissions are made.

What is a DCP and why is this important?

A Development Control Plan (DCP) sets out what goes where on a site. Planning control for the West Byron DCP rests with Byron Shire Council. The Draft DCP can be viewed on Council’s website. The pro-overdevelopment majority on Council see this as their chance to rubber-stamp approval for West Byron, ignoring the same issues that have always concerned the community but which still have not been addressed – including koalas and threatened species, acid sulphate soils, traffic and flooding.

Our concern is that the Draft DCP is treating the site as if it is just another greenfield development. It is not. West Byron is a drained wetland and a highly sensitive area. It is essential that advance planning considers the sensitivity of this site and incorporates protective measures upfront in the DCP rather than coming after what has already been planned.

How to make a submission.

Mayor Richardson and Cllr Spooner are saying Council’s Staff are required to examine each and every submission (which could be as short as just one paragraph that relates to just one part of the plan).

*Sadly if you just copy this email or the attached factsheet as a submission it will just be listed a group protest and all those that are the same will be lumped together and only counted as one submission.

Cllrs Simon Richardson and Paul Spooner say that if Council receives a very large number of submissions, e.g over 1,000, (subject line: West Byron DCP Submission), by 4th December, it will put immense pressure on all Councillors to amend the Draft West Byron DCP to include commissioning an independent Traffic Management Plan, an independent Acid Sulphate Management Plan including an independent Soil Infill Management Plan, and an independent Koala Management Plan due to the large number of community concerns.

Why should I do this?

With the next Council election less than a year away in September 2016, the pro-development Councillors may be worried they may not be re-elected if they insist on ruining Byron Bay. So every Submission you, your partner and your friends make are important.

SOME OF THE MAIN ISSUES

Traffic

Based on the developers’ claim of only 856 houses, and some dubious assumptions, the developers’ traffic study concluded it would result in only an increase of 6,000 vehicles per day. Other assessments have identified traffic increases 2-3 times what the developers claimed. There are currently around 17,000 car movements on Ewingsdale Road every weekday.

West Byron has been zoned to allow for 1500 dwellings – almost twice what was originally proposed. With Byron households averaging 2.4 residents, that equates to 3,600 people – currently there are almost 10,000 residents in Byron. This is a massive extra population of cars onto Ewingsdale Road. There is no traffic study that tells us what the impact of this will be. Any development of this size requires a proper traffic study that reflects the full impacts of the development. Local residents will get to know ‘Sydney-style’ traffic jams on a daily basis.

And we can do no wrong 
Don't sell Byron for a song 
For 'when we think we lead, 
we are most led' 
'Accursed be the city 
where the laws would stifle nature's' 
Say no more to Open Sores!

    - Ian Curr with help from Lord Byron
      and an Aunt who lived in Byron Shire
      for years and years.

Soil Infill

Around 42 hectares of the site will need to be filled to get it to an acceptable elevation of 2 metres– in some areas the land is so low-lying it will need to be boosted to the height of a tall adult. This is a massive amount of soil being brought in – tens of thousands of cubic tonnes. Where will the soil come from? And how will it get here? Imagine trucks back to back from Byron to Mullum, several times over and you’ll get the idea. Is there a plan? No.

Israel's Apartheid Wall at Byron

Israel’s Apartheid Wall at Byron

Flooding

Byron Bay is like a large basin with the Clock Tower, on the corner of Byron Street and Jonson Street, being the lowest point. When we get our regular torrential downpours onto this area once it has been built up with fill and with drains and guttering and the hard surfaces of suburban streets where will the run-off water go? You guessed it – all through town plus the eastern side of Ewingsdale Road.

Acid Sulphate soils

West Byron is a recognised NSW acid sulphate hot spot. When you disturb the soil and change the drains you activate a biochemical process which produces sulphuric acid and releases heavy metals which will flow into the Belongil Creek – part of Cape Byron Marine Park and a breeding ground for fish — polluting the water, changing the pH and killing fish.

Koalas

The site is an essential habitat area for Byron’s koala population of 240 koalas – it links populations between Broken Head and Tyagarah. The development has roads and drains passing through koala habitat and includes clearing of over 30% of the habitat.

Public Consultation

Despite numerous presentations by qualified experts to Council, the controlling pro-development group of Councillors largely ignore them, ask few, if any, questions and frequently say ‘we discussed all of this many times before. I just want to vote.’

We the people of Byron – need to speak out now. This is the last time you will get a say on West Byron. After the DCP all the major decisions for the site are made and anything else is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

Jim Beatson
Byron Bay
NSW 2481
Tel: 02 6685 6421 or m 0409 049 835

Red Alert for Byron Shire.doc

dcp-backgrounder.pdf

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, it stated ” … if Council receives over 1000 submissions (subject line: West Byron DCP Submission), by 4th December, Council will have no alternative but to reject the project in its entirety…”

PLEASE NOTE: This is incorrect. There is no trigger to reject the DCP if Council receives over 1,000 submissions.

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