Sunday, January 25, 2009

newsletter 31

WOOLWORTHS APPROVED - Despite all odds, the Minister Hon Kristina Keneally, has approved the Woolworths supermarket & bottleshop in Mullumbimby. Byron Shire Council’s submission has been ignored, the Environmental Consultants Whitehead & Associates have been ignored, 1500 community letters to ex-Premier Iemma and ex-Minister Sartor have been ignored, and 150 recent clicks on our campaign button have been ignored. Is this a symptom of rot in the system? Does something need to change?

OBAMA’S CHANGE - “The world is changing – and we need to change too” said Barack Obama in his inauguration speech. On his first day of office he shut down Guantanamo Bay, other CIA “ghost prisons” as well as freeing up Bush’s secrecy over records. Obama’s orders will create transparency around political prisoners and transparency about records from the Bush, Bush Snr and Regan eras

TRANSPARENCY - Where do we in NSW need political transparency? My initial suggestions are as follows:

• Transparency about the Woolworths current proposals, plans and the Environmental Consultants Whitehead Associates Review – none of which were made available to the public despite our repeated requests. (We have seen nothing new from Wws or DoP since for nine months – since the public meeting in BSC Council chambers).

• Transparency about political donations made by private individuals, developers etc to political parties. In particular, any Woolworths donations to the current State Labour party.

• Transparency about why State Labour Planning Dept has swiped power of consent authority from local governments. Byron Shire Council is now powerless to reject inappropriate development in our Shire, as are all NSW local councils. Our Environmental Protection (EPA) Act (1970) has been undermined by “25 years of concerted determination to strip away our rights” (see Sylvia Hale Greens MP & Spokesperson on Planning speak on movie “RAID Rally a Resounding Success” on where she explains why the EPA Act is now ineffectual, discusses developer donations, etc.) Also search Sue Higginson, EDO on our website for her paper on Climate Change Issues and explanation of Part 3A of EPA Act.

UNHOLY ALLIANCE - The new Minister for Planning, The Hon Kristine Keneally’s allegiance with Woolworths appears more important than the fact that Byron Shire Council (BSC) condemned the current Woolworths plans as “unacceptable” and said that if BSC were the consent authority, consent would not be forthcoming.

Furthermore, according to the BSC submission of 8.12.08 to DoP, the Environmental Consultants Whitehead Associates did not endorse the Woolworths proposals and said that “We stress the design stretches the land capability of this constrained site to its limits”. Have these “environmental experts” taken climate change into account?

CLIMATE CHANGE - The Woolworths site was selected for a local supermarket some 6 years ago, and since then climate change has become a no 1 issue. For example the King Tide last week was half a metre higher than usual and the Woolworths on-site sewage and wastewater disposal is just 500 metres from the tidal river. Furthermore Wws floor level is just 18 cm higher than the Mothers Day flood of 1987.

UNITED NATIONS stated last Thursday 22/1/09 that in 2008 there was a “dramatic increase in … worldwide disasters” and that floods and weather disasters were the most frequent disaster events.

CLIMATE RISK HOTSPOT Just over the border, SE Queensland has been identified as a “climate risk hotspot” and the Qld Government has embedded climate change as its no. 1 issue in its draft Regional Plan for S E Qld - see “latest news” on

Given the above, we can confidently expect that the Wws development, just 3.5m above sea level and 500m from the tidal Brunswick River, is going to be affected by climate change and in particular their on-site sewage disposal may well be dispersed around the town in the event of a flood. Get this ….

WWS STORAGE OF FLOODWATERS ONSITE!!! The Department of Planning’s News Release of Thurs 22/1/09 p2 states:

“The design also mitigates flood impacts by ensuring that the development does not reduce the area available on the site for the storage of floodwaters”.

(Are they joking?) I will happily send copies of Dept Planning (DoP)’s News Release and Byron Shire Council’s submission to DoP on the Woolworths proposal to anyone that wants it. Contact me via

MCAN FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY will be on Australia Day 26.1.09 at Heritage Park at end of Stuart Street, by the river from 5 pm. Bring a picnic to share. We will be brainstorming our next strategy and welcome input from community. Entertainment will be community based – have you got a song or a poem? Come and perform your party piece!

We are not fazed: this is just the next phase. As George W Bush said “The future will be better tomorrow”.
In solidarity

Friday, January 16, 2009

MCAN BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION/strategies/Erskineville win


Greetings MCANics

MCAN FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY – We are nearly one year old! Born on Australia Day 26 January 2008, we will be having a birthday celebration, gathering and update at Heritage Park at the end of Stuart Street, by the river at 5 pm. Please bring a plate to share and a poem, song or performance piece. All welcome!!

WORLDS LEADING ENVIRONMENTALIST will be giving a short video and talk with Helena Norberg-Hodge on Monday 19 January at Mullum Civic Hall, 7 pm, gold coin donation.

Strategies to Save the Earth
An Evening with Doug Tompkins
Founder of North Face and Esprit
turned Passionate Ecological Activist

Doug Tompkins has just spent more than a month on the Sea Shepherd. He will be in Australia for three days, and will be giving only one public talk. Doug is quite possibly the most influential environmentalist in the world today. Following an extremely successful business career, he has poured all his energy and almost all his money into restoring ecosystems and supporting strategic initiatives for political and economic change. He lives in Chile and Argentina, where he has bought millions of hectares of land in order to create national parks. For two decades he has been a primary funder of the deep ecology, anti-globalisation and pro-localisation movements worldwide.

ERSKINEVILLE WINS AGAINST WOOLWORTHS!! In May 2008 City of Sydney Council refused an application for a Woolworths (and ancilliary shops). The developers then made an appeal at the Land and Environment Court, which has this week been dismissed because of the scale, intensity, traffic generation and adverse impact on the village.. Bravo to the community group

KING TIDE at Northern Rivers on Monday 12 Jan was 0.50m higher than usual. CSIRO said it was the highest tide in 18 years, and we can expect more King Tides. Being just 500 metres from the Brunswick River on the floodplain, Woolworths site is vulnerable to tide surges. They have set their floor just 0.50m above the height of the 1 in 100 year flood average. If there was another King Tide at 0.50m plus a major flood …. Would their shop floor be inundated … and what about the on-site sewage? This is a potential health hazard and environmental disaster.

Please click on our website CAMPAIGN BUTTON which sends a direct message to Premier Nathan Rees and Planning Minister Kristina Keneally.

Erskineville won by public support – lets follow their example!!
See you on Australia Day.... let's party!


Thanks everyone for their support this year – we have kept the behemoth at bay! It was 1st January 2008 that the Woolworths announcement was in the Echo.

OUR FIRST BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION – will be on Australia Day, 26 January. We could gather on-site and have another bonfire, early evening, weather permitting.

LATEST NEWS: BYRON SHIRE COUNCIL’S SUBMISSION TO DEPT PLANNING ‘UNACCCEPTABLE” on-site wastewater management plan. Woolworths latest efforts to gain on-site sewage approval and abuse the Consent Conditions of the original DA approved by ex-Minister Sartor have been met with disapproval from Byron Shire Council who say “if they were the consent authority … consent would not be forthcoming”.

Details of the December 08 submission are on and if anyone wants a full copy, please contact Deborah. Some of the concerns raised by Whitehead Associates Environmental Consultants employed by DoP are on our homepage, such as the half-metre buffer zone for Wws sewage system, the use of their cleaning chemicals rendering the on-site system inoperable, proposed illegal pumpout of sewage setting a new precedent for other developers in the Shire, etc.

CLIMATE CHANGE media release for S E Queensland – a potential hotspot on our doorstep…. article on our website.

NEW STP: Why is this being built on a floodplain next to the tidal river, surrounded by high hills? Watch out for our guessing competition coming up.

Here’s hoping the State government hasn’t got any silly season surprises in store for us.
Please click on our website campaign button to let them know we care. (Thanks Robert for all your website work).

Perhaps the economic downturn might save Mullumbimby from rampant expansionism. Small is really beautiful!