Byron has regular heavy rains. West Byron is part of the last active floodplain. It acts like a sponge for all the extra waters from the Arts and Industry Estate and Byron Bay. The West Byron Mega-development with all its concrete and bitumen, ‘hardens’ the land and it will not act as a sponge anymore. Instead it will add more water to the large flow during heavy rains.

Mega development on West Byron site will increase flooding, pollute & diminish the value of protected wetlands and the Cape Byron Marine Park trigger release of acidic waters from acid sulphate soils causing fish kills spread other pollutants already on site (zinc, copper, lead, and petroleum Hydrocarbons).

West Byron is a sensitive site, so rezoning and development is a contentious issue. This site is next to Cape Byron Marine Park and 96 hectares of wetlands.

The mega development adds more pollution without any proposals to repair what their works will add or to deal with what comes onto the site.

The untreated stormwater discharge and runoff into surrounding wetlands and into the Belongil:

  • 19% of the urban area directly into the Belongil Special Purpose Zone of the Cape Byron Marine Park,
  • 37% will be discharged into wetlands
  • 44% discharged into the central drain and then into Belongil Creek.

A Plan of Management for Belongil must be created first and then the mega development considered in relation to that. Given that the Belongil estuary is already in a parlous state it is essential that there is a comprehensive assessment of the health of its waters and biota so that the impacts of the increased pollutants can be considered. The flood modelling in the two DAs underestimate increasing storm intensities and sea level rises. This is bad for the new housing but also bad for the rest of Byron which has been built relying on lands like W Byron to ease floods and storm surge.

A single whole of site stormwater management is required to deal with quantities of water plus existing and increased pollution.

Water sensitive design is a vital part of 21st century planning and infrastructure works. A whole of site design adapted for water sensitive coastal living is missing.