Ocean Shores declared gas field free

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Jun 132013
Ocean Shores Gas Field Free

After some heated questioning Council voted on June 13, to agree that all areas surveyed can put up a permanent sign (of generic template) at the entrance/s to their towns/villages stating the percentage who voted to keep the area Gasfield Free. Yay!

Ocean Shores Sth, New Brighton, South Golden Beach & Ocean Shores Nth.
held a Gas Field Free declaration day celebration
from 2-7pm, 8th June, 2013,
at Ocean Shores public school.

Mayor Simon Richardson with the scrolls declaring Ocean Shores CSG free. Photo Jeff Dawson

Mayor Simon Richardson with the scrolls declaring Ocean Shores CSG free. Photo Jeff Dawson

Source: The Byron Shire Echo reported on Page 2, June 11, 2013.

Despite the inclement weather about 150 residents of Ocean Shores and surrounds participated in the CSG declaration ceremony at the Ocean Shores Public School, declaring the area gasfield free.

Setting the mood for the event were Methane Mike and two local community choirs: The Peace Choir and The Raise The Roof Choir, who sung CSG free songs.

After passing the scrolled declaration for each of the villages of Ocean Shores, New Brighton, North Ocean Shores and South Golden Beach from back to front, members of three generations of each area presented their scroll to mayor Simon Richardson.

95.2 per cent CSG free

‘2620 houses in 147 streets were surveyed by 125 volunteers,’ said co-ordinator Shelley Breda. ‘It was a mammoth task’. Another co-ordinator, Vivien Royston, told The Echo, ‘To the question, “Do you want your street to remain gasfield free, a resounding 95.2 per cent replied “Yes”’.

‘This is the largest residential area in the Byron Shire to be surveyed to date,’ she added.

Mayor Richardson congratulated the volunteers, noting that they have ‘enjoyed getting to know and engage with your neighbours.’

‘It’s important to look positively too, at what we want to be… we should be an area and a nation which is filled with alternate energy, not dinosaur energy.’ He also said that it was important to stay connected and vigilant as this is just the beginning. The Aboriginal Land Council and Dart Energy both hold licences over the northern rivers region. Dart Energy has suspended their operations but has not withdrawn their licence. Despite the tight economic situation, local businesses and practitioners donated raffle prizes worth over $1500.

OSCA meeting 20th May 2013

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May 202013

Monday, 20th May at 7pm at the Ocean Shores Country Club.

$2 OSCA membership or gold coin donation.

All welcome, come and join in a friendly open community association to discuss local issues and projects, together we can make a difference.


  • Present and Apologies
  • Minutes of previous meeting
  • Matters Arising from Minutes
  • Correspondence
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Marshall’s Creek floodplain management committee meeting
  • Local infrastructure issues
  • Sportsfields for Ocean Shores
  • Roundhouse update
  • Council amalgamation proposals
  • Land at New Brighton
  • General Business

OSCA Meeting Minutes 2013-05-20

Next Meeting: 17th June 2013

Apr 182013

18th April, 2013

Addressing council
Addressing council


Re: Item 14.2 Roundhouse Development Report and Item 12.12 Operating Budgets 2013/14
I don’t know how I can convey to you in a mere five minutes the hopes and dreams of a whole town trying to stop their beloved heart space being sent to the bulldozers.

This is the moment, this is the day that the Roundhouse could be lost. You are being asked to approve the agreement with the Country Club. However in doing so, as the summary of the Report clearly states, Council will then go to tender for the development.

In the 1988 Byron Shire Local Environment Plan the Roundhouse site was zoned by Council as “Special Uses 5a – Community Purposes”. This led the community to believe Council was going to acquire the site for community purposes.

RAG and OSCA surveyed a sample of 850 local residents on their preferred use of the Roundhouse site. 97% wanted it for public use, mainly for cultural use. 3% wanted a subdivision so that the money could be spent on filling in potholes.

I have been asked to remind Councillors that you promised to keep the Roundhouse in public hands and not develop it for sale as residential lots. And you did promise this at the Ocean Shores community centre before the elections . Many people rejoiced at your words, but some were cynical that politicians would not keep their word.

The alternatives are: a subdivision of at least 18 high rise dual occupancy buildings forever on the Roundhouse knoll ridgeline. Or, a council community long term project, with a self sustaining cultural facility, supported by most of the residents of this shire. The Roundhouse would be a visitor attractant, and inject sorely needed employment and income earning opportunities into the town and shire.

On behalf of the Ocean Shores and district community I am asking you to approve whatever you need to approve regarding the Country Club easements, but at the same time, stop the tenders being called.

Considerable pressure appears to be on councillors to accept the Roundhouse subdivision as the quickest means of urgently gaining extra revenue. This is lazy and misleading. Councillors have been requesting a list of other saleable sites for at least ten years. There are other Council sites especially at Byron Bay that can be sold without the risk of having to borrow beyond Council’s capability.

The 2013/14 Budget seems to indicate that Council is not sustainable and will not be able to borrow capital for the Roundhouse subdivision.
How much money is the development going to cost? And how much will Council have to borrow? Council’s draft 2013/14 Budget lists Roundhouse Development Costs as $1,354,200 allocated to the 2012/13 year and a carryover of $1,273,400 into the 2013/14 year which we presume is the extent of the projected borrowings less the $90,000 Roundhouse borrowings cash deposit council had to take from the 2012/13 budget to obtain a small surplus.

The figures in the 2013/2014 Budget need clarification for the community. What do they mean? Have the borrowings of $1,273,400 been the result of a revised business plan, less the $227,000 lost from the Country Club withdrawal. Would this yield a quick return? Would the borrowings have to be repaid quickly and upfront, or is this a long term loan? Is Council now borrowing 100% of the development costs? Is Council meeting the debt servicing ratio for this? Council has not addressed the reported difficulty of the contaminated site. Unless this is done, who will risk buying any Roundhouse land? Is this risky project really going to give Council a quick return of its investment, or yield the $2 million windfall it thinks is coming?

Because of the risk, and Councils poor financial status, should the Roundhouse borrowings now come under S23A of the Local Government Act which includes Council’s obligation to carry out a Capital Expenditure Review and notify the Division of Local Government? Have Councillors been briefed on this possibility?

There has been a blow out of development costs from the original 2001 business plan. This alone means referring under S23A to the Division of Local Government.

By Council resolution, lots 10 and 11 fronting Orana Road will be set aside. So the net yield to council will be for only 9 lots. Has this been factored into the Roundhouse profit estimates?

Section 23A of the Local Government Act Clause 8 states: “Councils have a responsibility to their community for the prudent management of community assets and finances.” The community expects Councillors to be fully briefed on the financial implications of the risk venture of the Roundhouse subdivision before allowing tenders to be called.

I have not time to address other issues in depth but will list them:

  1. The contaminated well on Lot 9 of the subdivision. EPA water tests show water contamination levels at a depth of 8 metres exceeding guidelines. Elements present include phosphorous, vanadium, manganese, aluminium and iron. No soil testing has been done. Will people buy land with possible contamination issues?
  2. Since July 1 2012 OSCA has been running a successful community pop up gallery at Ocean Shores, which demonstrates the great need for a public showcase for our creative arts. The current exhibition is Council’s Youth Art Project. Byron Shire does not have a permanent public gallery. OSCA has a dream of moving the gallery to a demountable building on the Roundhouse site. This would get things started.
  3. The Roundhouse site is heritage listed in Schedule 5 of the new draft LEP. Many residents would like to donate archival material to preserve the town’s history.
  4. Harry Boyd, the Ngargwal Durungbul custodian of the Ocean Shores to Tweed Nerang areas fully supports a cultural centre on the Roundhouse site. He wants to write a history of his people, with the support of the Ocean Shores Historical Society and based at the Roundhouse cultural centre.

We need a Project Reference Group or some other format to discuss all the issues. Council could then work with RAG and OSCA, with the Ngargwal and other community groups.

Jan Mangleson RAG OSCA
0431 477445.

Byron Shire Council – 1994 Roundhouse Report

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Apr 172013

Attached is the April 1994 Local Government Investigation into Byron Shire Council’s conduct of the Roundhouse affair.

Council had to buy the Roundhouse by order of the Land and Environment court. They paid approximately $1 million for the Roundhouse land including the building which Council demolished in 1996. They paid another $3 million in court costs, lawyers, etc. Plus interest. This did not include the owners’ court costs, except for a small contribution from Council.

Regards Jan Mangleson
President OSCA

Byron Shire Council – 1994 Roundhouse Report – Part 1 of 3

Byron Shire Council – 1994 Roundhouse Report – Part 2 of 3

Byron Shire Council – 1994 Roundhouse Report – Part 3 of 3

Final say from Mary Brophy, Local Government Inspector and author of the Roundhouse Report

Final say from Mary Brophy, Local
Government Inspector and author of the Roundhouse Report