Ballina MP Tamara Smith and Arakwal family member, Delta Kay, at the West Byron site.
Ballina MP Tamara Smith and Arakwal family member, Delta Kay, at the West Byron site. Marc Stapelberg

Govt should buy controversial development site: Ballina MP

BALLINA MP Tamara Smith MP has called on the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Environment and Heritage to compulsorily acquire a controversial development site.

The West Byron development proposes to convert six existing rural lots into 163 residential lots, 14 super lots, a business precinct and an industrial zone.

A decision is expected to be made by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel on Monday.

Ms Smith said more than 5000 submissions opposing this development had been lodged by local residents, showing the "environmental, social, economic and health costs of pursuing the West Byron development far outweigh the cost of compulsorily acquiring this land".

"The government has an opportunity right now to enter negotiations to acquire this land at a reasonable cost before the subdivision is approved and the opportunity is lost forever," she said.

"This land is a priceless asset and a core habitat for our precious native koalas.

"It belongs within the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve where it can be managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Arakwal and Bundjalung communities.

"If the government can afford to spend $1 billion ripping up perfectly good sports stadiums in Sydney they can afford to buy this important site.

"I urge the government to listen to the more than 5,000 submissions submitted by our community against this greedy and destructive development.

"If this development goes ahead it will threaten coastal wetlands, core koala habitat and the Cape Byron Marine Park and Belongil Creek.

"Not to mention the millions of tonnes of land fill, thousands of extra car movements on Ewingsdale Road and the doubling of our residential population in Byron Bay."

More to come.