Peaceful protest on controversial housing site
MORE than 50 people gathered yesterday to protest at the site of the controversial North Lismore Plateau development.
Led by Bundjalung Elders Council chair and North Lismore Plateau Protection Association, Mickey Ryan, elder Uncle Daniel and other traditional owners, the protesters attended a sacred smoking ceremony at the entrance for the proposed plateau at Sexton Rd, off Dunoon Rd.
The protesters then entered the site illegally.
Earlier, protesters adorned a large piece of earthmoving equipment with an Aboriginal flag and signs bearing slogans to dispute the development, which is planned to include 433 residential lots.
Mr Ryan said the smoking ceremony was to "clear out any bad energy".
He said the area held special significance for his people as it represented the echidna and the goanna, sacred totems of the Bundjalung people.
"There's sacred sites here, including burials, scarred trees, women's water holes and artefacts," he said.
Elder Uncle Daniel handed out symbolic gum leaves to everyone as the fire was lit to honour the Rainbow Serpent.
"Heal the world," he said.
In January, The Northern Star reported the long-awaited $45 million North Lismore Plateau development faced another setback, after opponents issued summons to the developer, the planning authority and Lismore City Council.
Protester Al Oshlack said the decision was a worry considering the council's precarious financial situation.
The Winten Property Group's development was conditionally approved by the Joint Regional Planning Panel in October 2018.
Last Monday Justice Paine in the NSW Land and Environment Court ordered the developers allow flora and fauna experts and a forensic archaeologist to access the site to prepare reports for the court regarding claims the site is a precious habitat of a number of endangered species.
But WPG representative Jim Punch said "safety reasons" were a concern if people were illegally entering the site.
"We are in the Land and Environment Court and we will give them access to the property if and when required," he said.