Greens and Nationals against Rural Industries Hub in Bangalow
A $20 MILLION rural industries food hub should be built in another shire, not at Bangalow, says Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW Ben Franklin.
The project is currently being evaluated by the State Government's Joint Regional Planning Panel.
Mr Franklin said he had received "overwhelming negative feedback from the community” and met with local residents at the site last month.
"It was clear to me that the size of the project is not in line with community expectations,” he said.
"The village community of Bangalow is unique and its character and amenity must be preserved.
"For me, there are just too many concerns about the potential impact on the local environment, extra traffic, and the general impact on the local community for it to be supported.”
But Mr Franklin said he "strongly supported” the development of a food precinct on the Northern Rivers.
"I have had a range of discussions with community leaders across the Northern Rivers and am advised that there are other shires that have shown a high level of interest to have this precinct within their borders.
"I hope that the proponents of the project look seriously at moving the food hub to another location in our region.
"I believe this is an example of 'great idea, wrong place'.”
Town planner for the project Paul De Fina said he was astounded Mr Franklin had made this announcement without speaking to him or the project's proponents.
"I can't believe he is telling us Byron Shire is essentially closed for business and we should take it somewhere else.”
Greens MP and Koala Protection spokesperson, Dawn Walker has also weighed in on the rural industries food hub raising the plight of Bangalow's koala population in State Parliament and throwing her support behind a community campaign against the development at Lot 201 Lismore Road, Bangalow.
"Many people are unaware, but Bangalow has a precious koala population and like most koala populations across NSW, Bangalow's koalas are under pressure from car strikes and urban development, including the mega Food Hub proposal at lot 201 Lismore Road, Bangalow that is currently before the Joint Regional Planning Panel,” said Ms Walker.
"I've called on JRPP to reject the Bangalow mega food-hub DA in its' current form in State Parliament.
"The Greens believe that food processing and manufacturing industries are vital for the Byron Shire economy, but they need to be at an appropriate scale and at an acceptable location.
"Koala numbers on the North Coast have almost halved over the last 20 years, it's vital that we started protect each koala population from urban expansion,