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Council Decision Pending for Wallum - early 2024

As 2023 draws to a close, the campaign to #savewallum has grown rapidly and ends on a high note, following the Byron Shire Council decision to defer the agenda item (13.12 from the Dec 14th Ordinary Council Meeting), until early in the new year - the next Ordianary BSC meeting, which will be in February, due to the summer break.

This is great news for the campaign, as the 563 page, LATE report, was received by the Council only the week before the item was listed for accepting the ammended management plans - MPs, and issueing of the Subdivision Certificate to allow construction - in this case, bulldozing, of the site.

The 563 pages report presetned to Council by Clarence Proeprty, included the )once again), revised Vegetation MP, Wallum Froglet MP, Storm and Groundwater MP and the new Hollows Nesting Boxes MP. How on earth Councillors were supposed to have read that amount of inforamtion, let alone have any understanding of the changes and ammendments from previous versions, is incomperehensible.

Luckily, this was the view of the Councillors and they have asked for more time to consider the reports, deferring the decision. It was pointed out by Save Wallum during the Council meeting on the 14th December, that there were indeed many concerning issues and contraditicons with the information in the various documents.

Some of the multitude of issues we did find in the brief time we had to review the report, included:

  • Stormwater management access to the new drainage system encroaching on the required Buffer Zone for the pre-exisiting natural water course running through the centre of the property - where the Wallum Froglet and various threatened aquatic species live

  • "Offset" plantings being proposed ON the Crown Road, which is not allowed, as they can be cut down at any point the Crown Road access may be reinstated

  • The issue of shading over the proposed artifical Wallum Froglet ponds, whereby the Wallum Froglet MP requires any tree making shade over the ponds be removed

  • This will also mean any 'retained' high conservation value trees int he Wallum Forglet pond areas that are supposed to be kept, will also be removed

  • Additionally, any new 'offset' seedlings that grow to make shade over the ponds, will also be required to be cut down! To name a few - now we have a little bit more time to read this report, we have no doubt we will find many more issues.

Mayor Lyons argued in the Council meeting its was not Council's jurisdiction to have an opinion on these reports as Council is not the Consent Authority - ie not the ones making the DA decision, as this was done by the Northern Region Planning Panle (NRPP) in May this year, however this falwed and controversial Zombie DA process still requires Byron Council to accept these reports - as if somehow they are not invovled? The Byron Shire Council was also the 'authority' whose staff made the damning and inaccurate report to the NRPP (April 2023), advising them that there were no issues with this DA - that BSC report is on the NSW Planning Portal (search DA 10.2021.575.1).

None of this makes sense!

It is a legacy of poor NSW planning policy that any Zombie DA be allowed to proceed. NSW is the only state in Australia that has such an archaic and ecologically devastating process in place. Zombe DAs allow developers to side step current environmental standards of impact assessment which would render these proposed developments unacceptable.

Find our how you can get involved to Save Wallum - fill in the contact form on the 'Get Involved' link above, help us spread the word on Socials, subscribe to our new Youtube Channel, donate if you can afford it at GoFundMe, and talk to eveyone you know about the campaign.

Save Wallum would like to thank everyone who has been involved in all the ways, over the past few months in this campaign protect this culturally and ecologically important area. It involves a huge effort, by a big group of people, and we need you all, and are very grateful for the many and varied ways our wonderful community is already helping.

We hope to see you all at the Still Wallum photographic exhibition at Brunswick Heads Picture House tomorrow, 20th December, 4-8pm, FREE.

Be safe over the holiday season and stay tuned for all the latest updates here in the new year.

Save Wallum @Byron Shire Council, Ordinary meeting 14th Dec 2023, Mullumbimby

- Image curtesy of Beverly Callow

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