Northern NSW cases of Covid-19
As of 8 PM 30th of March, there were 38 Covid-19 cases in the Northern NSW region. This was 1.77% of the 2145 tests conducted. The NSW average of positive tests per 100,000 is 2.03 %, which is 24.82 cases per 100,000. Our area is testing positive at 12.98 per 100,000 people – well below the NSW average. You can check the numbers at NSW.gov.health.
I have been told by a health professional that the Northern Rivers seems to be handling the crisis extremely well. The Byron hospital is in good shape to handle the crisis and they are well prepared.
The Party is Over – Festivals Cancelled
All of Byron’s signature events have been canceled or postponed.
Byron Bay Blues Fest is canceled till next year. Festival Director Peter Noble has said he is ‘heartbroken’, as 2020 was to be Bluefest’s 30th anniversary year. This iconic event was started in Byron in 1990 at what is now the Byron Bay Arts Factory, when it was still known as the Piggery.
Byron Writers Festival has been canceled. Festival organisers have announced that though the 2020 event scheduled to run 7-9 August has been canceled, plans are already in the works for the event to return 6-8 August 2021.
Splendour in the Grass has announced that the 2020 event scheduled to run 7-9 August has been postponed to October 23-25 2020.
Farmers Markets will remain open for now.
Council Elections Postponed
The council elections scheduled for September 2020 have been postponed until next year. The present councilors will carry on for a five-year term – it will not be as caretakers. Mayor Simon Richardson will not be standing again. The local Byron Greens had already held their nominations for who would be selected for the ticket. Both Cr Michael Lyon and Cr Sarah Ndiaye are running for mayor. As well as ex NSW Greens MLC Ian Cohen, and others.
Byron Council has implemented the following policies and closures:
- Sign on to the hashtag #ByronStayHome to be used in all Council public announcements and promoted through social media platforms.
- There is a ‘three-month ban on the use of public spaces for busking or other activity within the definition, including tarot card and palm readers, fortune readers, or the display or demonstration of items, particularly multiples of items, with an implication that they are available for sale or otherwise in exchange for money’.
- Closure of the Main Beach and Clarkes Beach carparks for three months.
- Call upon the Premier of NSW to reciprocate the closure of the QLD-NSW border to stem the flow of Queenslanders visiting Byron Shire.
- Call upon the Premiers of NSW and QLD to stop the use of long-distance bus services to minimise the migration of people from cities to regional areas.
- Council’s Environmental Health Officers to continue to guide and support food and grocery outlets in implementing all recommended COVID-19 hygiene strategies.
Places to Stay – and not to Stay.
- Mayor Simon Richardson has been on the talk shows requesting backpackers and tourists not to come to Byron. There has been a concern that tourists unable to return to their own country are making their way to Byron.
- The NSW state government has introduced a policy to house overseas returnees in hotels for 14 days. Locally, a holiday let management company, A Perfect Stay is happy to do assist people needing accom. They are ready to discount empty properties to people needing to self-isolate.
- Airbnb is asking hosts to volunteer their properties to first responders who are needing a place to stay. They will waive their fee and the host provides the home free of charge. This is important in hot zones where medical staff thinks its best to stay somewhere different from their families or be close to work. More info here.
And Now for Some NON-Covid-19 News…
Enova Goes Battery
Our local energy provider, Enova, has secured funding for its first grid-scale community battery. This is a multimillion-dollar collaboration between Enova Community Energy, Enosi Australia and the University of Newcastle. The funds have been granted funding from the NSW Government’s Regional Community Energy Fund. Enova can now install a 2MWh battery in a regional NSW location, implement peer-to-peer trading of the stored energy across 500 Enova customers. This will aim to reduce electricity bills for Enova customers. You can sign up for Enova here.
More on Regen Ag
Last month’s article on Regenerative Agriculture got a good response. You can read it here. Brunswick Valley Landcare has formed an educational subgroup called Farming Into The Future. It focuses on education and field days on Regen Ag. Its aim is to help the next generation of farmers and focus is on restoring soils, soil microbes, water retention, drought resilience and commercially viable production systems. Contact BVL via the website.
The Gift of Good Architecture
If you have an interest in good architecture, have a look at the Anganwadi Project. This is an Australian NGO working in India to provide interesting and innovative preschool structures. To date, they have built 1.3 million preschool centres. Anganwadi means ‘country shelter’.
Do you have a Wild Home Idea?
If you are a keen innovative designer or architect, Airbnb is offering a prize of US$1 million (A$1.5 million) to ten entrants in a competition for the ‘wildest home ideas’. The Unique Airbnb Fund is an initiative by the company to finance unconventional and unusual liveable spaces. Open to ‘design enthusiasts’ anywhere in the world, the proposals will be evaluated on the basis of their potential to contribute to a greater social cause, creativity, the inclusion of sustainable construction techniques, and whether or not the plans are realistic. Airbnb is looking for ‘unusual shapes, unexpected locations, immersive concepts, spaces with a story’, the company said on its website. ‘The wilder the better. A successful entry will be full of surprises, inside and out.’ Find out more here.
Australia Still 2nd Most Expensive
The attached graph is interesting. It gives the global house price per square metre as of 2016. Not sure that we should be proud of coming first in this competition. China is a close second – mainly propped up by major cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Hong Kong is also the only city to beat Sydney prices. Luxembourg, New Zealand and Ireland make up the top five. Then there is a steep drop, with most of the EU countries on a plateau.