Pete Evans’ spruiked ‘tribal living’ dream canned
A "holistic" land-sharing community that is being promoted by Pete Evans and promises a return to "tribal living" has been knocked back by the local council.
Tweed Shire Council voted on September 17 not to grant consent for upgrades to the access road for the planned "Nightcap On Minjungbal" at Mt Burrell, north of Byron Bay.
Because council owns the road, the refusal to allow 'owner's consent' effectively stops the development application (DA) from going ahead - despite the developers already selling "pre-DA" shares in the planned community.
Mayor Chris Cherry said: "The item was dealt with in-confidential, so it is not an open report and the decision has been made to not give owner's consent at this stage."
"The development can't go ahead and can't be submitted without owner's consent, that is a requirement we have and obviously it is about looking at what kind of development we want to facilitate at this site. The majority of councillors voted to not facilitate this particular development on that land."
When told that shares in the company that owns the 1400-hectares site, which grants the shareholder a 1ha allotment, were currently for sale for $275,000, the mayor said: "It was premature. Any developer that sells pre-DA allotments without approval is taking a risk".
Ms Cherry said the land, which sits behind Mount Warning where the developers intended 867 dwelling sites, was in a high bushfire risk zone which was another concern with the plan.
"I felt it wasn't an appropriate use of the rural land sharing SEPP (safe environmental planning policy)," she said.
"The Nightcap Village development is currently opening its doors to future residents, who can now apply to join the community and company as members," the website states.
In a promotional video fronted by Pete Evans, Sydney financier and property developer Derek Zillman, who is one of the directors of the company behind Nightcap said: "We have had people who have bought in from Germany, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and NSW."
Pete Evans says of the planned community in the promotional video: "Self-reliance, self-empowerment, connection to the earth, connection to spirit, connection to each other. There's not much else to say except, I am f...ing in. I'm f...ing in."
Nightcap announced Evans' involvement in the project in July, saying his influence would be a "momentous boost for the sales campaigns and the community moving forward".
The council roadblock is the latest in a messy history at the site that was previously known as the Bhula Bhula Intentional Community, another land-sharing community, which left 20 investors out of pocket when it went into administration in 2017.
Sarah and Tamati Kirkwood bought into Bhula Bhula in 2014 and lost $40,000.
"Months would go by with no progress and no DA (development approval) applications, we kept asking why the DA wasn't done and where are the unit certificates. Then the company was put into liquidation and everyone got kicked off by council," Ms Kirkwood said.
Bhula Bhula had also offered 1-2 ha of private use land from $120,000 to $180,000 for each unit holder.
But the NSW Land and Environmental Court ordered the community to "cease habitation", remove its makeshift homes, caravans, spiritual yurts and unauthorised roadworks by August 7, 2017.
"There was never a DA and, stupid us, we never called council to check, we accept we were naïve," the mother of five said.
Ms Kirkwood has tried to contact Pete Evans "but he doesn't want to talk to me", she said.
The Sunday Telegraph went to Mr Evans, as well as Nightcap for a comment neither responded to the questions.
Originally published as Pete Evans' spruiked 'tribal living' dream canned