The Byron Shire Council chambers in Mullumbimby.
The Byron Shire Council chambers in Mullumbimby.

'Septic' matter in creeks, confusion over council letter

SEPTIC leeching into creeks was raised when Byron Shire Council was questioned about its approach to suspected unauthorised dwellings at its ordinary meeting on Thursday.

Matthew Lambourne read out a submission regarding recent letters sent to some residents of Main Arm.

When previously queried about this at the council's recent planning meeting, director of sustainable environment and economy Shannon Burt said the correspondence was "not an enforcement letter" but a "show cause" letter.

<< 'Robo-letters' sent to owners of illegal properties >>

<< How many illegal homes are there in the Byron Shire? >>

<< Council ramps up action against illegal dwellings >>

A draft policy to address unauthorised dwellings across the shire is yet to be formally adopted and Mr Lambourne said the council's approach involved "planning waffle".

"If it's intended to encourage people to come forward to seek a way out, people don't understand it," he said.

"People who don't sit through long boring council meeting don't have a clue what it's about."

Cr Michael Lyon acknowledged there were "some genuine fears" about the approach and asked Mr Lambourne if he'd be willing to assist with communicating the reasons behind the council's action, including "septics going into creeks" and bushfire risk.

When Mr Lambourne asked if the council had evidence of septic material entering creeks, Cr Lyon replied: "yes".

Duncan Dey, representing Main Arm Rural Residents Association, asked the council to immediately "cease hinterland action on perceived unauthorised dwellings".

Cr Basil Cameron asked Mr Dey, who will run as a Greens candidate at the 2021 council election, whether his position had changed on a council policy he previously supported as a past councillor.

Cr Cameron said the letters to residents did not rely on the Draft Unauthorised Dwelling Policy.

"You're a former councillor," Cr Cameron said.

"I'm sure you've looked at the documents.

"You'd be aware, then, the action is undertaken under the existing enforcement policy and not the policy that's to go on exhibition?

"Do you think there needs to be a change in that enforcement policy that you previously supported?"

Mr Dey replied: I'd have to sit down and re-read the 30-page policy".


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