Backflip on Brunswick land swap

BRUNSWICK HEADS residents claimed a victory after Byron Shire Council decided to rescind a decision to hand over parcels of the town’s foreshore land to the State Government.

The council and the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA) made an agreement to exchange tenure over the Byron Bay Swimming Pool and adjoining restaurant complex for five parcels of land at Brunswick Heads.

It also included council acquiring parts of a crown reserve which the Suffolk Park Holiday Park encroaches upon.

After being shown the error of their ways and admitting the decision had been passed through council without being closely examined, Mayor Jan Barham apologised to residents at a recent foreshore action rally at Brunswick Heads.

At yesterday’s council meeting, Councillor Tom Tabart moved a notice of rescission and it was passed unanimously.

“The excuse that it came late in the day and we didn’t look at it is partly true but we didn’t keep it up till we were kicked in the bum by the community of Brunswick Heads,” he said.

“Lets put this back on the agenda and come to some agreement that will give the community and the State Government a fair go in the use of our public lands.”

The negotiation of land transfers between council and the LPMA was suspended until impacts, including traffic management, safety, community land use and general amenity, are considered.

Brunswick Heads Foreshore Protection group representative Michele Grant said it appeared council’s main priority was to secure tenure over the Fishheads restaurant, which adjoins the Byron Bay Swimming Pool.

“This old and vulnerable white elephant has been valued at over $3 million dollars and securing tenure over this land appears to have been council’s main priority as it impacts on council’s ability to call tenders for lease of the Fishheads restaurant which expires next year,” she said.

“For council to use the tender of the Fishheads restaurant as a legitimate reason to swap irreplaceable foreshore land in Brunswick Heads is reprehensible and totally irresponsible.”

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