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Woolworths to Challenge Byron Shire Council in the land and Environment Court

Woolworths to Challenge Byron Shire Council in the land and Environment Court

Woolworths is challenging Byron Shire Council's refusal of their sewer on a bog in the Land and Environment Court and has requested that rate payers pay Woolworths legal costs.

A couple of Council Meetings back, our General Manager stated emphatically, a core responsibility of his, is to protect the rate payers funds. Well here’s a chance for him to demonstrate that these are more than just words.

Having paid $3.8m for their soggy horse paddock, Woolworths are obviously keen to erect their big box and have no interest in waiting for the towns reticulated sewerage system to be upgraded. Woolworths are coming to Mullumbimby for the sole purpose of milking the community of every dollar possible.

Technically, it should be a straight forward and simple task to defend the Council’s refusal of Woolworths onsite sewage proposal on an urban low lying, often water logged site with an effluent disposal area that has largely zero buffer distances. A proposal that requires a ludicrously high level of water saving procedures and a high level of technical skill and attention to manage.

Unfortunately, court verdicts are so often a measure of the determination of the successful party. The quality of the conflicting cases presented and cunning of legal representatives can win the day.

Woolworths determination to have our elected Councillors and planning laws over ruled must be meet by that same determination and dedication by our staff and representatives. Without that, Woolworths will walk away with their approval and rate payer will be paying their costs.

We hope Council can pre-empt what Woolworths lawyers will be presenting to the court. Fully prepared to address Woolworths claims that independent consultants have stated that their system will work. Fully prepared to respond to the fact that a Council report (most foolishly in my opinion) suggested their system could have been approved should Councillors have chosen to adopt a pragmatic approach.

We do hope the General Manager is good to his word and pulls out all stops to successfully defend Council’s refusal of Woolworths sewer on a bog.  For no other reason than to protects rate payers funds, this is a court case that Council must and can win.

Garry Scott


 

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