Woolworths opponents get a reprieve - for now

Woolworths protestors celebrate their victory at Mullumbimby last Friday.
Woolworths protestors celebrate their victory at Mullumbimby last Friday.
Opponents of the Mullumbimby Woolworths development are celebrating a ‘reprieve’ for the town after Byron Shire Council delayed a decision on the approval of the supermarket’s proposed on-site sewage system.

Councillors voted last Thursday to defer their debate on the S68 certificate until a further report was received from council staff.

The report will address a series of specific questions on the adequacy of Woolworths’ application for an on-site sewage system.

Protestors have been pinning their hopes on an S68 certificate refusal as one of the final ways to stop Woolworths, following the State Planning Minister’s approval of the development in January.

Construction of the supermarket cannot begin until the S68 is issued.

Woolworths opponent campaigner Deborah Lilly said that the deferral would delay the building of the Woolworths supermarket, hopefully for a long time.

“The questions that have to be answered (in the report) are very strategic and we think it’s impossible for them to answer in a way that will allow Woolworths to build the on-site sewage and meet the regulations,” Ms Lilly said.

 Ms Lilly said the Station Street site was boggy and waterlogged for most of the year and totally unsuited for the on-site disposal of effluent of any kind.

It would require much of the effluent to be trucked off the site for a large part of the year, which would be a contradiction of Byron Council’s ‘no pump-out’ policy, she said.

A spokesperson for Woolworths said the company still believed its on-site sewage system was feasible.
He said that council’s latest decision was a temporary setback.

“We are pushing ahead and feeling confident,” he said.

“We understand there are a lot of hurdles we have to go through, but it’s still our priority to bring all the good things that Woolworths offers to the town of Mullumbimby.”

The spokesperson did not rule out the possibility of a Land and Environment Court appeal if the council was to refuse the S68.

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