Council retains growth strategy for possible industry sites
A RESCISSION motion to reverse Byron Shire Council’s adoption of its Business and Industrial Lands Strategy has been lost.
A draft strategy was exhibited in late 2018 and the council voted to consider the inclusion of additional lands last June before voting to adopt those changes in December, resulting in the rural land earmarked for potential future business or industrial development increasing substantially to about 40ha in gross area.
Councillors Cate Coorey, Jan Hackett and Basil Cameron sought to remove the additional areas at the Gulgan North Precinct and The Saddle Rd, Brunswick Heads, from the plan and have the strategy redrafted. Cr Coorey said the additional land wasn’t justified.
Mayor Simon Richardson opposed the rescission, saying areas included in the strategy faced numerous challenges like expansion constraints, flood risk, poor internet and a lack of easy highway access.
Also included in the 40ha total is a stretch of the Tyagarah airstrip, which he stressed there was no plan to redevelop.
“The fear this is somehow going to lead to Bunnings opening up in every corner is a furphy,” Cr Richardson said.
“It’s simply about looking at possible land that, if they could overcome massive amounts of restraints, could go to DA and they could develop industrial land.”
Councillor Michael Lyon said businesses currently seeking to expand faced the prospect they must “leave the shire and take the jobs with them”.
Cr Cameron said keeping the strategy as it was would do the region “a disservice”, while Cr Hackett raised concerns about valuable farm land being industrialised, but the rescission was voted down.
Cr Richardson said the strategy, which will be forwarded to the NSW Department of Planning for endorsement, would help to “future-proof” the shire.
He said Byron had seen a high growth rate in business and demand for business space in the past five years.
“There’s no indication that’s going to slow down,” he said.
“It’s not resilient to have all our production out of the shire.
“It’s not resilient for us to not have industry here.”
He said aspects of the strategies looked at “clustering” potential development for a like nature.
For example, under the council’s plans, private medical development could be acceptable on the land surrounding Byron Central Hospital, he said.