Byron Shire Councillor Diane Woods has called on her colleagues and mayor to work within the law when it comes to appropriate development.
Byron Shire Councillor Diane Woods has called on her colleagues and mayor to work within the law when it comes to appropriate development. CATHY ADAMS

Anger at snail-pace planning

BYRON Shire Council’s go-slow approach to new development has angered Brunswick Heads-based councillor Diane Woods.

The same approach has rallied local developers to take further court action, creating more cost for ratepayers.

“I’m over this,” a frustrated Cr Woods said yesterday after her fellow councillors voted to defer the controversial Davis/McIver development at Main Arm near Mullumbimby.

“It’s just not right to defer this development proposal.”

Mrs Woods cited court action over the Mullumbimby Woolworths DA, and Belongil Beach residential court action as a waste of many hundreds of thousands of ratepayers’ dollars.

Yet the council voted at the same meeting to ask the Minister for Local Government, Barbara Perry, to approve an additional five per cent rate rise to cover essential road works.

“The council is going stupid on legal battles,” she said.

“We shouldn’t be expecting more money on rates when we waste it on legal costs.”

Main Arm residents, teachers and now developers Michael and Christine Davis and their long-time friend Neil McIver said they had lost trust in a council that originally invited them to financially contribute to a rural planning strategy.

That was 12 years ago and despite a successful rezoning of village and rural land to allow development, and a recommendation by council staff to approve the plan, there is no end in sight.

“We are financially committed,” Mr Davis said.

“We will consider our legal options and will consider seeking damages.”

Mayor Jan Barham, meanwhile, defended her council’s stance, saying it was important that councillors consider the Davis development at the same time as the impending ReGenesis development, an eco-hamlet proposed for the same general vicinity.

“It is important to see the whole of the impact and benefit to be derived from these developments,” she said.

Cr Barham said the two subdivisions would create ‘substantial impacts’ on the hamlet of Main Arm.

“That’s why we didn’t want to make a decision on the Davis development without considering ReGenesis,” she said.

Mr Davis said such a stance was unlawful, and would consider his legal options.

Cr Woods said council’s desire to preserve existing life-styles at the expense of development was impractical.

“If we do sustainable development we can manage it but if we put a lid on all development it will blow up and affect everyone,” she said.

Cr Barham responded by saying: “Council has a responsibility to protect the interests of the community.”

GLUTTON FOR PUNISHMENT

Woolworths’ knock-back lost in court

Belongil knock-back lost in court

Main Arm developers to consider court action

Council to apply for rate rise

 

 




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