Brunswick Heads Set For Sea Change #2
The popular TV series from the 90s, Sea Change, is getting a reboot and will be filmed in Brunswick Heads. Local producer, Deb Cox, and production company, Every Cloud Productions, will once again be at the helm. Originally the series aired on ABC but this time it will be on Channel 9.
The reboot version is: Set 20 years on from the original series. SeaChange sees original lead actor, Sigrid Thornton’s Laura Gibson return to Pearl Bay to attend the birth of her estranged daughter’s baby. Rising sea levels, community cover-ups, and some very stormy weather conspire to convince her this town now needs her as much as she needs it. The crew just need to set up a camera in one of the coffee shops and press record. Read more here.
Lets Play Politics
Many of us despair at what is happening at all levels of politics. But that is not an excuse to turn away and ignore it. What we can do as individuals has a minor effect compared to what can be done at a policy level – therefore voting matters.
What also matters is to be in a marginal seat. The largesse from the ruling coalition in the NSW election race is coming down the pork barrel pipe a mile a minute. The above story of Sea Change, which is getting NSW State money as part of the budget, is only one of the beneficiaries. National’s candidate Ben Franklin has been to the opening of every envelope, and every car door, cheque book in hand.
If you want to MEET THE CANDIDATES, you can. It will be on at the Byron Theatre on March 18, 6 – 8.30 PM. Its hosted by Bay FM, Echo and COREM, and MC’d by long term ABC radio announcer Angela Catterns. The choice in our electorate is between:
Ben Franklin National Party. The main promoter of fore-mentioned pork barrelling. Ben is not your usual National Party member; personable, softie, lives in Byron and sometimes goes against his party on a few issues. Doesn’t wear a big hat or RM Williams boots.
Asren Pugh, Labor. Asren is from the Pugh dynasty of activists – father and grandfather have long manned the barricades for the natural environment. If Labor wins the election, Asren winning locally may deliver the best for the electorate but he is not the forerunner.
Tamara Smith, Greens. The sitting member has a chance of being unseated due to the present dysfunction within the NSW Greens. Tamara is active and vocal but unless there is a minority government, a minor party has little leverage.
Cathy Blasonato, Animal Justice Party. Don’t know much about this one. Probably a dark horse, but at least you can be sure the horse that she rides in on will never be whipped.
Let’s Get Together
More politics but this time the Federal Election happening later in May. The Together Party is newly set up by local lawyer/comedian Mark Swivel. He is also the frontman for faux Russian choir, Dustyesky. Mark wants to get elected to the Senate as an independent. The party had their launch/conference during February. It was well attended and had good credible speakers and presenters. A similar conference will be held in Sydney March 9th at the Bondi Pavilion if you can make it, more info.
The Together Party has passed the guidelines prescribed by the Australian Electoral Commission and will be an official party at the end of March. Mark will need over 200,000 primary votes to get elected so will need all the help he can get. Have a look at the manifesto and get behind him. I think sending a little bit of Mullum to Canberra will go a long way. Look for the Go Fund Me link and chip in a few dollars as well.
Hello Suffolk Park
Suffolk Park has been in the news lately.
Last week the Suffolk Park Motel was the hideout for a couple of Irish crims on the run. They searched the room but the culprits had left the scene. The Irish rogues were in trouble for shooting the wrong guy in a botched hit job in Victoria. A Sydney real estate agent, Sid Morgan, was shot in the head when at the wrong place at the wrong time. I looked for a suitable Irish “Joke of the month” but failed. Feel free to send me in one if you can help. As you can see by this month’s effort, I am yet to be influenced by modern-day standards of PC politeness.
The suburb is also remarkable as it is numero uno on a pretty important statistic. APM CoreLogic just released a survey studying Australian property movements over the last 25 years. You are a winner if you answer correctly that Suffolk Park is #1 top performing suburb in all of Australia over the last 25 years. That means you are also a winner if you purchased there in the past. Suffolk Park currently has a median price of $1,185,000, while in 1993 it was $74,250. That is a percentage growth rate of 1496% or 11.7% per annum. Go SP! When I first lived here, we called it Suffering Park – along with Open Sores (Ocean Shores) and Specific Blister (Pacific Vista).
Beach Hotel drops the pokies
In 2017, the Melbourne based Liberman family purchased Byron’s iconic Beach Hotel for $70m. They did it through their asset management company, Impact Investment Group. Some of the family spend time in Byron now and are involved in socially responsible investing and community work – they also run a social impact investment arm called Small Giants.
In keeping with this more socially responsible direction, the Beach Hotel is dropping its pokie machines. The room has been turned into a casual dining venue called the Green Room. The Byron Chamber of Commerce will be holding its next get together there. You can book your tickets for that event for the 14th of March here.
New NSW Medium Density Housing Code
Last year the NSW State Government rolled out a plan to streamline development applications for medium density zoned areas. Byron Shire was one of the many councils asking for a 12-month amnesty to consider the proposal. Nothing was done and now BSC is looking down the barrel at having to comply.
Basically, the new proposal allows landowners to develop their block under compliant development if it is over 600M and in a medium density zone and it follows the prescribed “design guide”. You can view the guide here. The most radical change is that some titles are allowed to build Manor House/Multiple Units. If you are not in a medium density zone then no need to worry. Same if you are in a heritage or conservation precinct.
Reboot for Byron Arts and Industry Estate
Council is looking to prepare a Precinct Plan for the Byron Arts and Industry Estate. They have realised that what has organically developed there is fairly unique. But for it to grow and be sustainable it needs to be well managed. They want to hear input about what makes the Arts and Industry Estate ‘tick’ and how potential challenges could be overcome. If you have ideas, input or involved in the A&I Estate, have your input here.
Startinno Stops and Starts
Local innovation hub Startinno has been operating in the Byron Arts and Industry Estate for over five years. It is now collaborating with the Gold Coast Innovation Hub and is moving offices there. One of the IT ideas in development there was “Realar”, an app that allows builders or homeowners the ability to see their home or structure before its built-in 3D. Have a look here.
Free the Festivals
The NSW State Government are being ham-fisted and pig-headed (apologies to all pigs) with their anti-festival policy. The science is telling them that pill testing will save young people’s lives but have chosen to ignore it and stay with the same old, same old that doesn’t work. More policing, more sniffer dogs, more draconian penalties. It’s not just a war on drugs it’s a war on young people. National Party candidate Ben Franklin is in a tough situation trying to get elected in a progressive regional electorate and being in a party going for these tired old policies. Festivals are an important asset to this region.
Deferred Matter now only partly deferred
Time rolls on and council issues fade with time. Just a couple of years ago there was much angst and drama about council introducing Environmental Zoning. This was to rezone rural lands that had DM (Deferred Matter) within the boundary and deciding whether they should be moved into agricultural, rural residential – or the dreaded E-zone. Meaning that they could not then be farmed or developed in the future.
The plan was actually good. The idea was to try to join up all the scattered bits and pieces of residual old growth forest. Then join them together to give more playroom for all the furry critters – before we lose them entirely. Council currently has on display till the end of March over 60 rural titles that have had their bits of greenery decided. Not so contentious after all.
Be Aware of Property Conmen
We all think we are good judges of character. The property industry is full of grifters and scammers. Real Estate Agents are low down on the list of respected professions – along with used car salesmen and politicians. But only a few of the many, many agents I deal with, have I ever thought to be untrustworthy. Maybe I grew too trusting, or maybe these operators are getting more sophisticated. I was surprised to learn that I, as well as a number of local residents, were taken in by a very professional Ponzi-scheme conman.
Last week, Brisbane barrister, Tony Grey, was arrested in New Zealand. He will be deported back to Australia to face trial. Police have alleged that between May 2007 and November 2016, Mr. Gray — acting as a solicitor and financial planner — ran a bogus property investment scheme based on short-term bridging loans under a number of companies. I myself did not lose any money, but people I know did. He was attempting to cultivate me in a complicated property swap maneuver that, luckily, never came to fruition. But he was able to cultivate friendships and relationships in this area over many years. The people I know are not stupid or gullible. Please be careful who you do business with, or take advice from. More on this story here.
More Legal Entanglements
Byron Bay looks like becoming ground-zero with another legal dilemma. During my sedentary paddles out the back of the surf break, I am very appreciative of the leg rope innovation. But looks like a younger generation of surfers is not. Some feel the use of a leg rope intimidates their style and want to return to ropeless free-form surfing. Directors of local law firm Somerville Laundry Lomax disagree and are seeking to hear from anyone who has been injured by an unrestrained surfboard. Looks like a class action wave is about to break and we will be awash in a sea of litigation.