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Byron Mayor Not Ruling out Appeal against L & E court decision

Byron Mayor Not Ruling out Appeal against L & E court decision

Byron mayor Jan barham

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham is not ruling out an appeal against the recent Land and Environment Court's decision allowing Woolworths to build their supermarket in Mullumbimby.

Cr Barham said 'a report on whether an appeal would be viable was expected to go before councillors at the February 11 meeting of the council.'

The courtís decision to allow an on-site treatment plant to overcome the long-standing moratorium on any new connections to the overloaded sewerage system gives the supermarket giant the green light to start building a supermarket on its Station Street site.

Cr Barham said the decision last week by Commissioner Robert Hussey in favour of Woolworths’ appeal against the council’s refusal of its plans for an on-site sewerage system was a ‘real concern’. It is proposed that treated effluent from the on-site system will be put into the Ocean Shores sewerage system.

“It’s definitely a precedent in relation to the moratorium – all those years we have denied locals the right to develop because of the moratorium,  now the big corporate manages to get through. They are pumping out, which nobody else has been allowed  to, up to now,  we have had a position where it has been the same rules for everyone.  Now the big guys have come to town and set their own rules. It’s a shame the court has done that.”

The council’s executive manager of environment and land use, Ray Darney, said, " the approval was valid for five years and subject to conditions granted by the court. “One of the conditions included is that installation cannot commence until the approval issued by the minister has been modified to incorporate the redesigned on-site system,”

In a short statement, Woolworths said it was very pleased with the Land and Environment Court’s decision to approve the on-site waste water treatment facility.

Opponents were disappointed  at the news, although mailny not surprised.  

Mullumbimby resident and waste water consultant,  Garry Scott said, “With the approval of a highly constrained sewage system located on a flood-prone and often waterlogged horse paddock in the middle of our town, The NSW Land and Environment Court has set a new precedent for on-site waste water systems, disregarding local policy and guidelines. Although refused by the Byron Shire Council, they are now the ones holding the baby.  Our council must now oversee the building and the monitoring of Woolworths ‘sewer on a bog’.”

Social planner Tricia Shantz. said that in the event the new Woolwoths is built,  “People will start buying their newspaper at Woolworths and then their meat, so the newsagent and the butcher have to put off a staff member,” she said. Local businesses use local lawyers and accountants, but Woolworths won’t be employing locals. There is job loss when a major chain comes into a community – this has been proved in the UK and the US.”

Others in Mullumbimby who will suffer are nearby residents, bracing to be subjected to a constant barrage of noise as well as all the unsavoury elements of development.

 Mullumbimby estate agent Mark Cochrane said,“I feel sorry for the people in Prince Street, facing a big blank wall that will undoubtedly be covered in graffiti.  Not only will there be massive amounts of traffic noise and deliveries day and night, there will be the constant roaring of the air-conditioners and refrigeration plant, and the beep-beep-beep of backing trucks.”

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