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Member for Ballina Tamara Smith calls for compulsory acquisition of West Byron site

Ballina MP Tamara Smith calls for compulsory acquisition of West Byron site

State Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP has called on the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Environment and Heritage to compulsorily acquire the land in West Byron that is currently before the Northern Planning Panel for development approval.

The developer has proposed converting six existing rural lots into 163 residential lots, 14 super lots, a business precinct and an industrial zone. Their proposal is currently under the review of the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel.

More than 5,000 submissions opposing this development were lodged by local residents by April last year.

“The NSW Liberal National government know the price of everything but the value of nothing,” said Ms Smith.

“The environmental, social, economic and health costs of pursuing the West Byron development far outweigh the cost of compulsorily acquiring this land.

“The government has an opportunity right now to enter negotiations to acquire this land at a reasonable cost before the subdivision is approved and the opportunity is lost forever.

“This land is a priceless asset and a core habitat for our precious native koalas. It belongs within the Cumbebin Swamp Nature Reserve where it can be managed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in partnership with the Arakwal and Bundjalung communities.

“If the government can afford to spend $1 billion ripping up perfectly good sports stadiums in Sydney they can afford to buy this important site.

“I urge the government to listen to the more than 5,000 submissions submitted by our community against this greedy and destructive development.

“If this development goes ahead it will threaten coastal wetlands, core koala habitat and the Cape Byron Marine Park and Belongil Creek. Not to mention the millions of tonnes of land fill, thousands of extra car movements on Ewingsdale Road and the doubling of our residential population in Byron Bay.

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“We know that with the government’s current cavalier approach to holiday letting that on top of the massive negative impacts there may not even be any permanent residents living at the site so it is a developers’ paradise – not homes for our already housing-stressed community,” said Ms Smith.

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