West Byron win
THE Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel received a standing ovation when they announced they intended to refuse one of the two West Byron Development Applications they were considering.
The refusal was for the eastern portion of the site including Belongil Fields - owned by 'local' landowners known collectively as Site R&D which proposed a $40million dollar development which included 163 residential lots and 14 so called super lots.
The battle is not over yet with the matter to go to the Land and Environment Court for a conciliation meeting scheduled between the applicant and Council at 10am on February 12 on site.
Conciliation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of an impartial conciliator, identify the issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach agreement.
Michael Lyon, Acting Mayor of BSC said the decision was a win for the precautionary principle.
"There were 19 reasons for refusal provided by the council, all of which were upheld by the JRPP, and an additional reason for refusal was given- which was there was no owners' consent from adjoining landowners,” Councillor Lyon said.
"Now we move on to the court proceedings, which is in the form of a conciliation conference.
"However, council staff have no delegated authority to resolve the matter.
"As a community we need to pursue a rejection by the court, just as the JRPP has done.”
Cate Coorey, Byron Shire councillor and spokesperson for Byron Residents' Group said it was gratifying to see the planning process upheld.
"It was BRG that lobbied hard to get the Planning Panel to hold another meeting after last October's meeting was left unresolved due to the last minute dumping of new material just prior to that meeting that Council nor the Panel had adequate time to consider.
"The owners of the site had already lodged an action in the Land and Environment Court that meant the court would have made a decision, ahead of the Panel, effectively thwarting the planning process.
"Our community should especially give thanks to Byron Residents Group's Dailan Pugh OAM, whose exceptional work has helped our community to better understand the impacts of the West Byron developments and who has been tireless since the beginning in pushing back against this damaging project.”
Ballina MP Tamara Smith welcomed the decision by the JRPP after last week urging the state to compulsorily acquire the West Byron Development sites, restore the land and incorporate it into Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve.
Chair of the Northern Planning Panel panel Gary West told local radio he expected the other half of the West Byron Development by Villa World to come before the panel in April.