GOING GREEN: Becton staff planting the first trees as part of a major revegetation project. Pictured are (from left) Elke Buhri
GOING GREEN: Becton staff planting the first trees as part of a major revegetation project. Pictured are (from left) Elke Buhri

Becton project aims to go green

By ANDY PARKS

THE Becton North Beach development at Byron Bay wants to be one of the most environmentally sustainable tourist resorts in Australia, according to development manager Simon Stockfeld.

The developers have joined up to an international benchmark and certification system, 'Green Globe', which was developed from the Agenda 21 principles for sustainable tourism at the Rio Earth Summit.

"Becton understands the unique environmental sensitivity of this site ... we are committed to producing one of the most environmentally sustainable tourism resorts possible," Mr Stockfeld said.

"Green Globe was chosen because it's an ongoing program that will continue throughout the life of North Beach Byron, because the process provides ongoing reviews and feedback. It also allows for long-term, continuous improvement."

Greens MLC Ian Cohen said he was sceptical of the announcement, saying Becton had released 'a tsunami of green-wash' in the past.

"I would be much happier if Becton had consulted effectively with the local community and got a green tick on a range of environmental and social concerns from the community," he said.

"It's clearly a development of international consequence, but it's still very much a local concern."

Stage one of the North Beach Byron resort will consist of 117 units on 90 hectares of beachfront property. It has been dogged by controversy since a development application was lodged with Byron Shire Council.

Thousands of people protested and wrote submissions against the planned development. NSW Planning Minister Frank Sartor eventually intervened and took control of the approval process out of the hands of the local council.

Environmental campaigner Dailan Pugh from BEACON said at the time: "The Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) identified in their submission the development would have an impact on threatened species, particularly on shorebirds, and the Species Impact Statement did not adequately satisfy the requirements of the DEC."

According to Becton, they are undertaking a bush rehabilitation program, planting more than 800,000 native trees and shrubs. About 75 per cent of the site will be brought back to its natural state and gifted to an appropriate organisation as environmental habitat in perpetuity.



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