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News and Reviews

Byron Shire Flood Recovery Update –Friday 10 July 2022 



NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News
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Byron Shire Flood Recovery Update –Friday 10 July 2022


Roads Update

The rain earlier this week slowed things down a bit. Here is a snapshot of some of the work we got stuck into over the last two weeks.


Grader Maintenance team

  • Chinamans Hill Road – completed
  • Picadilly Hill Road – is close to completion
  • Mafeking Road should start next week.
  • Bangalow Road edge – has been finished.
  • Stuart Street in Mullumbimby – still working on drains and road edges


Capital Works crews

  • Myocum Road
  • Stage 2 of the Pocket Road upgrade has restarted
  • Kingsley Lane project is due to start next week


Stormwater team

Over the last several weeks the Stormwater crews have been opening and clearing drains across the Shire including:

  • Bulgoon Street
  • The very end of Manse Road in Mullum
  • Tuckaroo Estate – retention pond


They were also working on some of the open drains in Mullumbimby.



  • Kings Road at Federal is almost completed ready for seal but the rain has held this up.
  • Jones Road repair should be completed very soon.
  • Settlement Road Main Arm is finished.
  • Whians Road at Federal is finished.
  • Flood repair work in Main Arm started in late June.
  • Crews have started repairing two small slips at Upper Main Arm.
  • Pre work started on Springvale Road for the stabilisation crew, which will follow in the coming weeks.



Staff met with hinterland residents from the Huonbrook Valley this week and talked about the timeframe for repairs to roads.


Council’s priority is to get all remaining access roads in Huonbrook open as quickly as possible.


Contractors are being engaged to start this work and all going well they will be onsite by mid-August.


We will also be doing so repair work on the access roads to Huonbrook.  This will include filling the potholes and grading roads where needed. We know this is not a long-term fix but it will be a lot better than it currently is.


Staff are also looking at a slip on Johnsons Road.


Report your road damage and potholes

We are working on filling the many potholes across the Shire and we welcome your notifications. The best way to notify us of particular potholes, or road damage, is via the Report It tab on our website.



Free flood drop off has finished. Exceptions may apply with prior written approval.


Call 1300 652 625 for more information.


Update for hinterland residents


There is a bin bank at the intersection of Huonbrook and Wanganui Road for residents beyond this point.


These bins are to share, please do not remove them or swap them from the bin bank.


If you no longer have bins, please call the Resource Recovery Hotline, 1300 652 625 to organise replacements.
Govt help with flood debris on public and private land


We know there is some angst in the community about large flood debris, such as cars, that remain on private land, public land and in some waterways.  The clean-up of much of this flood debris will be managed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.


For the clean-up of all flood debris on private land, register at Request clean-up of flood debris on private land program | Service NSW. For further info call MRA Consulting Group on 0492 941 487.


If you have found large or hazardous flood waste on the beach, or in rivers and waterways you can report this directly, via email, to


You can find details for all flood clean-up programs on the EPA website.  There are guidelines for each program.


Please note the recovery of insured vehicles will be the responsibility of insurance companies.


Mullumbimby Flood Recovery Centre

The Mullumbimby Flood Recovery Centre is now operating out of the CWA Hall on the corner of Tincogan and Gordon Streets in Mullumbimby.


The reason for the change of venue is because we are repairing flood damage to the Civic Hall.


The Recovery Centre is open Monday and Wednesday from 9am to 4.00pm.


The following services are available:

  • Service NSW
  • Legal Aid NSW
  • Insurance services.


Information about the Flood Recovery Centre is on Council’s website.


Rates relief announced for flood affected ratepayers 

The NSW Government has announced that flood-affected ratepayers in the Byron Shire may qualify to have their 2022/23 land rates paid.


The rate relief will apply to any ratepayer who has made a successful claim through Service NSW, or who had their property assessed by the SES as directly damaged from the flood or storm events.


Eligible ratepayers will have their residential, business and farm rates for 2022-2023 paid for by the NSW Government.


Note – this only applies to land rates not charges such as waste, water and sewer.


Service NSW will administer the program and eligible ratepayers will receive the relief automatically. There is no need to apply. The NSW Government will be contacting ratepayers directly to confirm their eligibility.


People who do not receive rate relief but think they are eligible should contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.


Rural driveways may now qualify for disaster relief funding

If you’ve been declined Australian Government Disaster Relief Funding (AGDRF) in the past, it could be worth checking recent changes and additions to eligibility. In certain instances, rural driveways may be considered a major asset and therefore may now be eligible for funding.


To be eligible for AGDRP a person must have been seriously affected by the event. This means you were either:

  • Seriously injured,
  • Are the immediate family member of an Australian citizen or resident who died or is missing; or
  • The flood destroyed or caused major damage to the person’s home (principal place of residence – so a holiday home does not count) or
  • Major damage to a major asset or assets with a combined market value of at least $20,000.


In terms of major assets, this could be separate buildings on the property, vehicles, caravans, water tanks, large scale machinery or fencing. Rural driveways may be considered a major asset when:

  • The part of the driveway that is destroyed or suffered major damage is located at the person’s principal place of residence and is on private land,
  • The driveway provides the only vehicle access to the person’s principal place of residence, and
  • The driveway has a market value of at least $20,000.


Destroyed for a major asset means it is unusable. Major damage to a major asset (that is not a water tank) means that it is damaged by heavy rainfall or by flood water to the extent that it needs to be replaced.


For more information go to the Services Australia website.

News and Reviews

Lennox Head para surfer Joel Taylor wins world title




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Lennox Head para surfer Joel Taylor wins world title


By Sarah Waters

Not many people can experience a devastating, lifechanging injury and then go on to be a world champion.

But in a story of unbelievable triumph, Lennox Head para surfer Joel Taylor, 43, has done exactly that.

Joel is now the 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Champion.

The competition, held at Huntington Beach in California, attracted 184 of the world’s best para surfers from 27 countries, who competed over six days for the champion title.

Joel competed in the Men’s Prone 1 Division and got off to a strong start, topping the leaderboard in the two qualifying rounds.

He pushed himself to the limit in round three and the semifinals to qualify for the final, which he finished with an amazing score of 13.17 points out of 20.

Joel Taylor surfed five rounds over six days at Huntington Beach in California against the world’s best para surfers. Credit: ISA / Sean Evans

Joel Taylor surfed five rounds over six days at Huntington Beach in California against the world’s best para surfers. Credit: ISA / Sean Evans

Joel said he dreamt of being a world champion since he was 13 years old, when he first saw Australian bodyboarder Michael ‘Eppo’ Eppelstun win the bodyboarding world championship in 1993.

“I’m so stoked and really proud – and kind of relieved,” he said.

“I’ve been focused on winning this contest pretty much since I started para surfing just over 12 months ago, to do so, with my family on the beach, is a dream come true.”

What made Joel’s victory so remarkable was that up until last year, he hadn’t been in the ocean for two decades.

At 21-years-old he was Australia’s rising star of bodyboarding.

But things went horribly wrong for him in the lead up to the 2001 Pipeline Pro bodyboarding competition in Hawaii.

A ‘shockwave’ flipped him out of control and forced him down feet first onto the shallow reef below him, injuring his spinal cord and leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since.

Surrounded by family, Joel secured his long held dream of winning a world championship title. Credit: ISA / Pablo Franco.

Surrounded by family, Joel secured his long held dream of winning a world championship title. Credit: ISA / Pablo Franco.

Despite the dark years that followed the accident, as Joel tried to process his new reality, he managed to launch a new business venture, Unite Clothing Company.

It has gone on to be one of the country’s top bodyboarding brands and a formidable clothing label in its own right.

The thought of surfing again at a competition level was pushed aside as his life was consumed with work.

Eventually, he met his wife Lorin, and they had two young boys, Jay and Sunny, who he wanted to introduce to the ocean.

“We have world renowned beaches and surf spots here in the Northern Rivers,” Joel said.

“I was lucky enough to grow up here too, so I wanted to give my young sons the same lifestyle that I had growing up.

“That was my main motivation.”

Joel Taylor finished the final round with an impressive score, which put him on the winner’s podium. Credit: ISA / Sean Evans

Joel Taylor finished the final round with an impressive score, which put him on the winner’s podium. Credit: ISA / Sean Evans

Last year, Joel decided to get back on a board and enter the ocean again.

The ocean gave him a renewed sense of freedom and energy that he hadn’t felt for 22 years.

It wasn’t long before his competitive spirit came back and although he may not have been able to bodyboard like he used to, he adapted his style to the next closest thing – para surfing.

Joel trained at the gym almost every day and surfed as much as possible at Northern Rivers beaches, which had similar waves to Huntington Beach in California.

“My arms are pretty strong from pushing a wheelchair around for the past 20 years and chasing my boys around in it,” he said.

“But it took me about four months to get my paddle fitness up again.

“I knew if I trained hard and prepared well, I’d have a good shot at claiming gold, so I did everything I could beforehand to make it happen,” he said.

Lennox Head para surfer Joel Taylor claims the 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Champion title. Credit: ISA / Pablo Franco

Lennox Head para surfer Joel Taylor claims the 2023 ISA World Para Surfing Champion title. Credit: ISA / Pablo Franco

While, claiming the ISA World Para Surfing Championship title may have secured Joel’s long held dream of becoming a world champion, the competition also proved to be a great eye-opener and inspiration for him.

He is now going to enjoy time with his family without the pressure of competition on his shoulders.

He also wants to explore the boundaries of what’s possible for a paraplegic surfer and is looking at adjusting his surfboards so he can ride bigger waves, like the ones he used to as a bodyboarder.


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News and Reviews

Carrs Dr development approved on appeal




Subdivision plan showing location of building envelope outside of C2 zone at Carrs Dr
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Carrs Dr development approved on appeal


By Tim Howard

Clarence Valley Council continues to approve developments on land that is in danger of flooding.

At its October meeting the councillors overturned their decision in April to knock back a proposal for a six-lot subdivision at 181 Carrs Dr, Yamba.

The council was asked to review its decision after the developers amended the DA to address the issues raised in April.

They were:

a) The land being a wetland (swamp forest of swamp oak) making it unsuitable for the proposed development;

b) The nine submissions raised major concerns about the potential for flooding, impacts of stormwater runoff and clearing of natural vegetation.

c) The likely impacts of the development on the natural environment;

d) Impact on areas of C2 zoning for some infrastructure.

In a report to the October meeting council staff recommended the DA be approved as the amended document address the reasons for refusal.

The proposal for six large lots, with a minimum lot size of 5000 square metres, was zoned R5 Rural, with a section of the sixth lot zone C2 Conservation.

Councillors objected to effluent disposal on the C2 area, the blocking of a wildlife corridor through the site for the Yuraygir and Bundjalung national parks and the flood prone nature of the site, which had been inundated during the 2022 floods in February and March.

The developer requested a review of the refusal after making changes to the DA which removed infrastructure on the C2 area as well as restricting the building envelope for structures on the other lots.

The developers also argued the site was not a mapped wetland or located with 100m of a wetland as indicated by State Environmental Planning Policy.

In a Biodiversity Diversity Assessment Report, it said the plant community type, swamp oak forest, did not constitute a wetland community type, but rather, was vegetation aligned with swamp oak forest.

There was a similar rationale to account for the presence of a paperbark swamp forest located nearby but not affected by the development.

The land was considered suitable for the proposed development because the biodiversity impact could be offset under the terms of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

Subdivision plan showing location of building envelope outside of C2 zone

Subdivision plan showing location of building envelope outside of C2 zone

Other issues of flooding, impacts on the environment were also considered to have have been satisfactorily amended.

Cr Karen Toms, who supported the original development, moved to also accept the revised DA.

Cr Debrah Novak wanted to know what changes had had been made and director environment and planning Andrew Cameron answered.

“All infrastructure for the proposed lat six has been relocated outside the C2 environmental conservation zone and a reduction in building envelope size for the proposed lots two to six from 20 by 20 to 15 by 20,” he said.

“So they’re the two main changes that have been made in response to the previous council report.”

Cr Greg Clancy was not convinced changes were sufficient.

“While, I note that the there is no map wetlands on the site or being impacted, the fact that there were swamp oaks of coastal lowlands of the NSW North Coast bio-region and there’s 0.415ha to be impacted, flags to me that the site is a very low lying site and would be subject to flooding,” he said.

“And this was an issue that I was concerned about during the original DA when it was before council previously.

“I still have concerns that it is too low lying and it is basically a swamp even if it’s not mapped as such.”

He said there needed to be changes to stop people building in flood prone areas.

“I do not think we should be approving housing in areas which are most likely to be flooding,” he said.

“And I think that might be one in 20 or something like that rather than one and 100. So, to me, it’s not good planning to be putting houses in areas that are quite likely to flood.”

But Cr Toms said the rules were the rules.

“Under the Environment Planning and Assessment Act 1979, people have an opportunity for a review under Section 8.28 of that Act. And that’s what has happened,” she said.

“The applicant has requested a further review of their determination and they have made some changes to to rectify the concerns that were caused that caused the refusal the last time.”

“So they’re tweaked to make concessions to their subdivision to satisfy the reasons why it was refused last time. So that’s the process. That’s their lawful right.”

The council voted 7-2 to approve the DA.


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News and Reviews

Lawrence power to win over Iluka




Lawrence batter Rowan Green top scored for his team with a stylish 37 against Harwood at Lower Fisher Park 1, Grafton, on Saturday.
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Lawrence power to win over Iluka


By Tim Howard

Wet weather and player unavailability played havoc with the the Clarence Valley’s Premier League and first grade cricket matches at the weekend.

In Premier League Brothers have forfeited to Harwood when they could only find five players to take the field for the game scheduled for Harwood Oval on November 11 and 18

Harwood skipper Ben McMahon said the club got the call from the Brethren that they had to forfeit ahead of the game.

He said it had shocked him that a club as strong as Brothers had fallen on hard times.

“Before we left the premier league a few years ago, Brothers was one of the strong teams in the competition,” he said.

“Now they’re struggling to field one team in the competition and could only get five players for Saturday.”

McMahon said it was fortunate for some of the team they were selected in the North Coast Zone team to play in the Country Championships over the next weekend.

“We’ve got the buy in the next game so there could be a long break without some cricket,” he said.

Only one game completed was in first grade, between Iluka and Lawrence, at Iluka Sportsground.

Lawrence proved too strong for the hosts, dismissing Iluka for 103 and chasing down the total for the loss of two wickets.

Iluka could not support middle order batter James Duff, who scored 45 and captain Beau-Dean Oestmann, 20.

No-one else reached double figure and the innings was over in 22.3 overs.

Nathan Anderson had the best figures for Lawrence with 3/26 from seven over and Ben Shaw and Christopher Townson each took two wickets.

Lawrence openers Mark Ensbey, 39 and Ben Hill, 30, sliced a big lump from the chase before Rowan Green 22no and Darby Rouse, 4no, finished it off.

Dean Bartlett with 2/16 from seven overs was easily the pick of the Iluka bowling.


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