Minutes of meeting of the Suffolk Park Progress Association
Held on Thursday 30 July 2009 at 7pm at the Suffolk Park
Community  Hall.

The meeting began at 7pm.

Minutes of the meeting of June 28 were approved (proposed M Wiles, seconded N Mackay).

Correspondence received by SPPA since last meeting:  Letter from Byron Shire Council acknowledging receipt of submission by SPPA on Holiday Letting Model;   letter from Byron Shire Council advising approval of DA for POPE licence for Suffolk Park Hotel on 30 June 2009.

Guest speaker Norm Gallagher, from the National Parks and Wildlife Service/ Arakwal National Park, gave a presentation on the history and operation of the national park.  He also presented the SPPA with an updated Plan of Management for the park as well as a laminated map.  This information can also be downloaded from the NWPS website.
Peter Stolz and Helen Brown from Suffolk Park Dune Care raised the issue of bitou bush control and their ongoing concerns. Weed control and fire management are the main tasks of the NPWS, as well as boundary control in the case of the Arakwal park.  Tracks are not actively promoted, ensuring that there is a low impact from tourists using the park, making it more of a “locals” park than other National Parks. New additions to the national park are to be added, including Crown land behind Red Devil’s sportsfield and Department of Lands land on Paterson Hill, as well as a part of the Broken Head reserve.  Plans are also in place for a Bundjalung Women’s committee to oversee the southern tea tree lake at Suffolk Park, designating it to be a Sacred site and “women’s” lake.

Peter Stolz spoke re. the recent approval of the DA for the Suffolk park Hotel.  The DA was never tabled at a Council meeting, therefore other than written submissions, no public debate was invited by Council.  The issues facing the community from this DA include:
– Increased noise from entertainment (till 10.30pm Mon-Thurs, 11.30pm Fri-Sat, and prior to public holidays,  9.30pm Sunday, and 12.30 pm New Years Eve).
– Increased traffic movements (up to 332 patrons allowed)
– Noise level allowable up to 50 decibels from boundary of the nearest residence.
– Additional problems come from large extractor fans from the restaurant, air conditioning compressor units (which are on/off all night long), and huge extra unscreened lights in the carparks shining into nearby resident’s windows all night.
–  Extended drinking hours would mean greater possibility of alcohol-fuelled violence in the surrounding area, presenting safety concerns for residents.
Several attendees reported hearing Splendour in the Grass noise on one day of the festival when wind direction was from the NW.  This raised the concern of how loud the Hotel music would be.
It was resolved by the meeting that the DA process was severely flawed, by not allowing direct consultation with the Community, and that the SPPA object to both the process and the outcome.   Peter Wegner to investigate if recission of the DA is possible;  if not, the SPPA to organise a public petition, an open letter to the papers, and a letter to Council.

Dudley Leggett spoke on the Draft Social Impact Assessment Study which is currently on exhibition;  this is a study that has been ongoing for many years without any formalisation by the Byron Shire Council.  Norman Mackay to check submission closing date.

Norman Mackay reported that the SPAR supermarket is charging a 10c fee for biodegradable bag, and are putting in a filtered water fountain with sale of refillable bottles.  He applauded their endeavours.

Karen Kolbe sent notice to the meeting that the BYS (Byron Youth Service) has made available $20,000 to the youth of Suffolk Park, aimed at improvements for the Skatepark, eg. Trees for shade and screening.
Norman Mackay also raised the proposal that , if possible, the $20,000 could be used in other ways,  eg.  Security guards on night bus services so that the night service could be reinstated;  bicycle bells provided to all young people.

It was decided at the meeting that the upcoming 50th anniversary celebrations of the SPPA be postponed until Sunday 25th October  2009 from 1pm.  The SPPA will make funds available for promotion.  Dudley Leggett is to organise the Fire Brigade for a sausage sizzle;  Entertainment suggestion from Norman Mackay for comedian Akmal Salid to perform; Helen Brown can organise a banner for the event.   People are urgently needed to HELP with the organisation of the event.

Dudley Leggett reported that each Byron Market there will be a marquee for Community Consultation processes and community participation, entitled “Will of the People”.

Helen Brown announced that Dune Care is in urgent need of more volunteers.

The meeting concluded at 8.30pm.