Don’t let West Byron slip through

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If you thought the West Byron battle was over, think again. The community is once again being called to action over the second development application (DA) for the contentious West Byron site that is coming before the Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) next Monday, April 8 at the Byron Theatre from 3pm.

The DA is proposing to create 282 residential lots that would include 19 duplex lots, four medium density lots and many larger lots capable of re-subdivision down to 150–250m2 leading to the possibility of the site having over 400 dwellings.

If the Villaworld development was approved it would lead to ‘filling over a significant population of the nationally vulnerable Wallum Sedge Frog situated in an Endangered Ecological Community, the filling over locations of the NSW vulnerable Wallum Froglet, and clearing mapped koala habitat and feed trees,’ said local ecologist Dailan Pugh.

Irreversible damage

The state and commonwealth governments have approved bio-banking for this ecological destruction even though the Byron Shire Council’s ecological consultant advised that the assessment of the impacts of this was grossly inadequate. The consultant stated that, ‘Whatever the situation regarding rezoning or approvals for this development, the ecological consequences of the development proceeding in its current form are profound and effectively irreversible for the local ecosystem and biodiversity’.

Significant quantities of fill will be required to bring the site above flood level including the construction of ‘a 1.8 – 2.6m high (and potentially up to 4m) sound wall along Ewingsdale road on top of up to 1–2m of fill,’ said Mr Pugh.

He also pointed out that the earth mound and screen plantings would extend up to 6m within the Ewingsdale Road reserve, that is on public land, a concession already proved by Byron Shire Council.

Cars, cars, cars

Villaworld appear to have underestimated the amount of traffic that the development will generate saying that it would be below the RTA guidelines. The other West Byron development, refused by the Northern Joint Planning Panel (NJRPP), ‘assessed that the overall development would result in an additional 14,000 traffic movements on Ewingsdale Road, a 66 per cent increase, though it could be significantly more,’ said Mr Pugh.

Villaworlds apparent lack of understanding of the impact of the traffic that would be generated from the development led council to comment that, ‘Until the issues of baseline vehicle volumes and proposed vehicle volume growth rates on Ewingsdale Road can be resolved, the assessment of the ability of Ewingsdale Road to convey current and additional traffic movements from the proposed development cannot be carried out, hence the item is unsatisfactorily addressed’.

Refusal recommended

Byron Shire Council has recommended refusal to the NJRPP on 24 grounds including: lack of assessment of social impacts; impacts on coastal wetlands, biodiversity and ecosystems; inadequate assessment of impacts on the Belongil estuary; undersized lots; unassessed impacts of fill; inadequate assessment of disposal and impacts of stormwater; inadequate assessment of changes in groundwater; and lack of approval from the Rural Fire Service.

Source: Echonet

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