MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE SUFFOLK PARK PROGRESS ASSOCIATON, held Thursday 1st May, 2008, at the Suffolk Park Community Hall.
The meeting commenced at 7pm.
1. SPPA 50 year anniversary
Bernie Petry invited people to come forward to help organise the association’s 50th anniversary next year; also asked for contribution of archives and photos.
2. L.E.P. (Local Environment Plan)
Bernie Petry explained the history of the upcoming LEP. The public exhibition is planned for September/October this year, but he expressed concern that with a limited time frame and council staffing , public input may be restricted. Jan Barham responded that , as the existing LEP will simply be translated into the new standard of the NSW government, and thus only new additions will need drafting , there is time for the community consultation process. Ray Darney noted that these additions were referred to as “investigative zones” and included submissions such as that by developers to re-zone the land next to the BP supermarket to commercial; and that additional funds had been made available by council to address extra staffing and time needed.
He expressed that the BP land is currently under investigation to determine whether it would be included in the LEP; that the south byron sewage works would not be upzoned in the LEP but would be a matter for council to consider in the future; and that the Crosby’s caravan park is currently facing compliance issues and Council is trying to resolve these.
When questioned on environmental buffer zones, he responded that outright buffer zones for environmental protection were not possible as the State government does not allow it as part of the LEP.
Councillor Lazarus noted that not ALL aspects of the old LEP translated into the new, eg. The motion to put holiday letting into the LEP as allowable via the DA process. He says that the motion included a fee of $10-$15,000 to apply for holiday letting of premises, thus turning a residential premise into a commercial operation. He urged the community to get their submissions in now to act on LEP issues.
3. BP LAND / 183 Broken Head Rd, Suffolk Park
Bernie Petry quoted the draft LES (Local environment strategy) which emphatically shows that Council is in favour of a supermarket on that land : “a large commercial centre would not be out of character with Suffolk park at the present time”. He asked Council if the upzoning of the land is to be included in the LEP, and Ray Darney responded that this will be determined within the next 6 – 8 weeks.
Bernie Petry urged the community to act now to let council know if this is what the community desires to be included in the LEP; after the rezoning proposal is in the LEP, it may be too late to change it.
Jan Barham responded that the land has been a continuing debate for many years; and that the land has always been residential and should continue as residential.
Ray Darney said that, despite what is in the LES, Council is still debating whether another commercial zone is needed in Suffolk Park.
When asked if this matter could be taken out of the hands of Council and made a matter for state government, Ray Darney said that it was unlikely.
The survey sent out by Urban Economics, commissioned by the developers, which showed a % in favour of a supermarket, was questioned; as the numbers of respondents were slight (of 1200 surveys, there were 259 responses (21%). Of these 259, 57% said they would like to have a major supermarket and specialty shops; 34% did not; 7% did not know and 2% gave no response). As well, the questions seemed slanted to make the response seem affirmative, so it does not seem a valid argument. Ray Darney assured the meeting that the survey was not something that was relied upon in the decision making of the LEP process, and that Council would investigate the methodology of the survey.
Bernie Petry noted that, within the regulations of the current residential zoning, light commercial was still possible, eg. A butcher, newsagency.
The question was raised whether, as the land was flood/fire prone, and only suitable for low density development, medium to high development could even take place. Ray Darney responded that Council would need to investigate these issues.
Traffic issues would also have to be resolved, and any development would need road widening, and turning circles. Bernie Petry noted that most people currently combine their shopping with existing car movements, eg. Driving to town for work, and therefore do not create extra car movements. If there were to be a major shopping centre, it would add to the already congested traffic flow in Suffolk Park, with extra car movements in and out of a shopping centre. Ray Darney responded, questioning whether a supermarket would create that much extra movement as car movement to other shopping centres would also be taking place, eg. Cars going down to Ballina or into town.
Jan Barham noted that Council had already approved and funded a roundabout for Clifford St/ Broken Head Rd, which should be completed within the next financial year.
Opinions were expressed that it was a pity that the Byron Bay/ Suffolk Park settlement plan was never adopted, and that the current DCP should be followed in the new LEP.
One suggestion was that Council purchase the site as floodplain management. However, as the previous purchase price was around $5 million, it seems unlikely this would occur.
4. Suffolk Park Caravan Park
Brett Connable presented the report by the working group. What is recommended is a model where all win – the permanent residents, the council, and the local community. The main points would be to increase public space and decrease roadways; have community activities such as concerts; make it more a hub of community activity. He will put up the report on the Suffolk Park Progress Association website ( HYPERLINK “http://www.suffolkparkprogressassociation.org” www.suffolkparkprogressassociation.org)
He also suggested the website be used for historical information of the site and as a public forum for community’s ideas on the future of the site.
Mark Arnold from Council explained the constraints on Council for the operation of the caravan park under the current classification. ( Ross Tucker pointed out that this was an issue of re-classification, not re-zoning). The issue will be part of the upcoming LEP. Jan Barham stressed the legality of the land being “sold” to council for the nominal amount of 10 shillings. Ray Darney said a covenant could be placed on the site, however attendees pointed out that covenants could be removed at any time.
One possibility is that permanent residents are able to stay if community title, as long as council owned the sites.
Another is to start a trust to operate the site.
5. Council Elections
Bernie Petry suggested that all these issues be taken into consideration when choosing who to vote for in September council elections.
6. Council Rates
Bernie Petry opened the floor for comments on rates increases; there was little response.
7. Holiday letting
Jan Barham explained that over the years, there has always been a deadlock in the voting of council for/against the issue, and that the motions to curtail holiday letting never get up. One possibility would be to have delineated precincts for commercial sites. She pointed out the dangers of insurance companies not insuring for holiday letting in a residential dwelling. In the last Census, some 260 residences in Byron Bay alone were lost to holiday letting.
Jan Barham urged the meeting to also look at the new campaign for local government,
The meeting concluded at 8.45pm.