Becton talks fail
With protracted talks with Becton over the future of the Byron Bay Beach Resort site failing, Byron Mayor, Cr Jan Barham, will now move to put more rigid planning controls on the site.
Speaking after the latest round of talks last week, Cr Barham said the lack of agreement between the parties meant the council must now develop clear guidelines for the land.
"I will now urge council to (prepare) a Development Control Plan (DCP) as a matter of urgency," she said.
"A DCP will define the significant constraints and potential impacts of the site and present guidelines for appropriate management."
At the talks with the council and community representatives, Becton had agreed to reduce the number of homes they planned to build on the site from 379 to 113.
Cr Barham said the meetings with Becton initially dealt with the natural features of the site.
She said two days of meetings identified environmental attributes and constraints and principles for management.
Despite initial disagreement there were substantial agreements that resulted in the preparation of maps by both Becton and community groups, she said.
After a couple of months believing that it might be possible to achieve an agreement, she was disappointed that an acceptable option could not be reached.
"I am very proud of the quality of work done by community representatives. They presented detailed environmental assessment in a very professional manner with the use of computer layers that provided a detailed visual mapping of the site."
Cr Barham said Becton proposed reducing the number of buildings, but the size and scale was still beyond accept- able low key use.
She said unfortunately Becton remained unwilling to consider any form of tourism accommodation other than the proposed 'holiday homes'.
As the site was zoned tourism it raised concerns about the type of development, she said. Dwelling houses were prohibited in the zone and concerns about the potential for the holiday homes to be permanently occupied had been highlighted by the council, community groups and the Department of Infrastucture, Planning and Natural Resources.
"The option for permanent residential would require a rezoning, an option raised with Becton more than two years ago," she said.
Becton's managing director, Hamish Macdonald, said the company's plans for the site were respectful of Byron Bay and he wanted to press ahead with the development.