Photo: Sean O'Shea Art
Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith is calling for a 12-24 month halt on all new planning proposals for major developments as well as a pause on both the Butler Street bypass and the Transport NSW Bus station until the area’s infrastructure backlog is addressed and the community is properly consulted.
“Like the Liberals did for the suburb of Ryde in 2018, I am calling for a pause on development applications in Byron for 12 - 24 months while we bring our infrastructure up to scratch,” said Ms Smith.
“There is so much pressure on Byron right now: we’ve got a Butler Street bypass about to start that is unlikely to be a game changer for traffic congestion on Ewingsdale Road but will involve massive road works, a massive transport hub being foisted on us by Transport NSW that has had no community consultation and which will also involve massive road works; holiday letting regulation uncertainty and medium density low-rise residential ‘Manor Houses’ that could triple housing development overnight across the Shire.
“The Premier always brags about how many cranes are in the sky in Sydney but what is happening to the Byron Bay that we all love and to the quality of life for residents that also attracts visitors here?
“By anyone’s standards for a town only a few square kilometres in size with 9000 residents and millions of visitors there is a lot going on. If this was a friend telling us how much they had going on in their lives we would counsel them to take the motto at the entrance to the town seriously: ‘Cheer up, Slow Down and Chill out’.
“Taking a break like they are doing right now in Ryde would give residents a break and enable Council to liaise with the community over the future infrastructure needs of Byron Shire and plan with us for sustainable growth.
“The Premier approved just such a development freeze in Ryde where local Member and Finance Minister Victor Dominello asked for a two year hold on new rezoning applications for residential housing. Ryde and Canterbury Bankstown also had the new low-rise medium density housing code deferred so as not to strain local infrastructure.
“If it’s good enough for Sydney councils, it’s good enough for regional councils such as Byron Council experiencing infrastructure strain too.
“Locals have battled for almost a decade to defeat West Byron and I’m proud to say they have – for now. Why not give them the assurance of a two year break where they don’t have to worry about the effects of new development while Byron Shire Council gets the infrastructure planning and support it needs?
“In the meantime if I am re-elected under a new government, communities would once again be at the centre of planning decisions that have dramatic effects on their lives.
“Byron residents are tired of the Liberal National government putting profits and developers ahead of proper infrastructure for our region. The government needs to consult properly with the community and ask Byron Shire Council to work with residents to make sure we get a Byron we all love at the end and not an extension of the Gold Coast,” said Ms Smith.