Backflip on Brunswick land swap
There was a collective sigh of relief in Brunswick Heads last Thursday when Byron Council rescinded and suspended a resolution to complete a land swap with the Lands Protection Management Authority.
The ‘land swap’ involved LPMA’s acquisition of five different sites, including Ferry Reserve Foreshore along Riverside Crescent, the adjoining Old Fins building and ex-Pacific Highway roadway and road reserve land alongside The Terrace and Massey Greene caravan parks.
In exchange for Brunswick road reserve land, Byron Council would acquire LPMA’s land around Byron Swimming Pool and Suffolk Park Caravan Park.
Michele Grant, from the Brunswick Heads Foreshore Protection Group, addressed councillors during public access last Thursday and won unanimous support for her plea to suspend land swap negotiations with the LPMA.
“It’s easy to see how councillors ‘overlooked’ the issue – and I’m really impressed with the way they admitted the report ‘slipped under their radar’ and have quickly moved to reconsider the deal, now they are properly informed,” she said.
“However, the fact the process was virtually a done deal, yet neither council nor LPMA had bothered to tell the community, is pretty appalling.
“We’re lucky to have people who are keeping an eye on what is going on. It does make you realise that unless we are all consulting and working together, things get hidden and missed.”
Brunswick Heads resident and ‘Protect the Foreshore’ rally organiser Sarah Buchanan said she was pleased the council had acted to put the land swap negotiations on hold.
“Council’s resolution on Thursday gives the community, as well as council, more time to demand that LPMA adequately survey and rectify the caravan park boundaries – and scrutinise and evaluate the impact their proposals will have on our community,” she said.
“This is a big win for the Brunswick Heads community but we realise that this is just the beginning.”
Resident Sean O’Meara said without vigilance and pressure from the local community, Byron Council could have been ‘tricked into this very dodgy land swap by providing a wealth of misinformation, deception and inaccurate maps’.
“This is just the first step by an increasingly growing and agitated residents’ action group who refuse to let their foreshore parklands be stolen from them and turned into private tourist resorts,” he said.
“The LPMA’s Brunswick Heads Foreshore Plans of Management are full of errors, unlawful acquisitions, misinformation, downright lies and are a blatant attempt to confuse and deceive the public.
“It was fantastic to see the local council unanimously reject the pressure from the LPMA and not be steamrolled by a desperate state government out to make a quick buck.
“This first move shows the kind of dirty tricks the ‘Land and Property Mismanagement Atrocity’ will be using in the ongoing battle.”