NO WAY: Organiser Cate Coorey from the Byron Residents Group at a Anti-West Byron Development rally held in Byron Bay.
NO WAY: Organiser Cate Coorey from the Byron Residents Group at a Anti-West Byron Development rally held in Byron Bay. Christian Morrow

Residents react to rejection of $40million development

"DAMAGING, inappropriate and wrong” is how Byron Residents' Group and associated parties described the proposed $40 million West Byron DA, which was rejected by the Northern Regional Planning Panel on Monday.

The panel followed Byron Shire Council's recommendation to refuse the proposed development, but the battle isn't over yet.

The matter will go to the Land and Environment Court with a conciliation conference on February 12 onsite at 10am then back to the council chambers.

Conciliation is a process in which the parties to a dispute, with the assistance of an impartial conciliator, identify the issues in dispute, develop options, consider alternatives and endeavour to reach agreement.

The Northern Star has attempted to contact the applicant's representative but no response has been received.

Here's what passionate groups against the DA had to say:

Byron Community

Byron Shire councillor and spokesperson for Byron Residents' Group (BRG) Cate Coorey said: "It was an amazing turn of events and so gratifying to hear the community burst into rapturous applause and give the Panel a standing ovation.”

The meeting followed on from one held in October 2018 but was left unresolved after new documents were submitted by the applicants.

Ms Coorey said it was "important that the people of Byron Bay got the right to see the process upheld”.

"This development is wrong for this site and it cannot demonstrate that there will be no serious impacts - ecological or social,” she said.

"The Panel cited 20 reasons for refusal, a comprehensive list of 19 points in Council 's recommendation and one added by the Panel, which emphasised to the community and the proponents the Panel's role to maintain the precautionary principle in considering developments.

"The bases for the refusal are of course what this community has been pointing out for years, including ecological impacts on the Belongil, the decline of the koala population and endangered frog populations the concerns with storm and wastewater management and the traffic burden, to name a few.

"It was disappointing that Stuart Murray, representing the landowners Site R&D, chose to shoot the messenger. Rather than deal with the substantive, fundamental problems with the Development Application, he criticised Council and the community submissions.

"Our community should especially give thanks to Byron Residents Group's Dailan Pugh OAM, whose exceptional work has helped our community to better understand the impacts of the West Byron developments and who has been tireless since the beginning in pushing back against this damaging project that takes so much from Byron Bay whilst giving back little of value.”

Ballina MP Tamara Smith

Member for Ballina Tamara Smith MP said she will "continue to call on the Environment Minister to compulsorily acquire the land and make it part of the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve to be managed by National Parks and Wildlife Service in conjunction with the Arakwal People”.

She said she applauded the "hard work of those who made close to 3,000 submissions to Byron Shire Council on the development application...to oppose over development of a sensitive wetland”.

"I congratulate the Byron Residents Group who have tirelessly worked on this issue for more than a decade, particularly Cate Coorey and Dailan Pugh. I also thank the Byron Young Residents Alliance for the work they have done in this space as well.

"There was no social license and it was very disappointing that the developer chose to attack the community and Council instead of seeing the raft of issues within the DA, let alone the true costs to the environment and the community of this inappropriate development.”