18 August 2017
Tamara Smith, Greens Member for Ballina says the proposed development application being decided by the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) on RU1 zoned land just outside of Bangalow challenges some of the fundamental objectives of Agricultural land and rural buffer zones in our region and within the Byron Local Environmental Plan.
“I have received many dozens of written representations from members of the Bangalow community about this development and I have met with residents and received a petition with thousands of signatures against the proposal,” said Ms Smith.
“I have met with one of the businesses intending to lease the site from the developer and I attended the public meeting last night where the community made submissions to the JRPP.”
“Everyone I have spoken to who is against the proposed DA is a huge fan of the businesses that want to grow and the model of a food hub. I am 100 per cent behind the idea of a food growing precinct or indeed a food hub that is described in the DA – but on the right land.”
“RU1 land is unique and precious and is intended to protect the land and soil and not the intended activity. Ancillary activity on land zoned for agriculture should be linked to the land and soil. The activities listed in the DA appear to me to be inconsistent with the objectives of RU1 zoning and are more suited to an industrial zone.”
“Add to this the proximity to a heritage town and the lack of certainty about who the farmers leasing the site will be into the future I can’t see how the JRPP can support such a radical departure from permitted uses on agricultural land.”
“With land values as they are in our region, protecting our rural buffer zones and resisting ribbon development outside of our villages is vital if we are to retain the character that we all love and that attracts people to the region in the first place.
“Preserving the soil and promise of food growing and agricultural production on RU1 land in our region is vital to our local economy and to the future,” said Ms Smith.
“It isn’t fair that people who have concerns about what ostensibly is a proposal to industrialise agricultural land are being portrayed as anti-business and anti-jobs in the region. With so much industrial land available in Ballina Shire as well as within Byron shire I don’t understand why this piece of land is becoming the hill to die on for the businesses that we know and love,” said Ms Smith.