Council Round Up
Lot 22 Approved
Byron Shire Council, during the last meeting for November, unanimously passed the approval to proceed with Lot 22 in South Mullumbimby. This development model will include small modular dwellings on what is known as a Land Lease Community. Council will remain owners of the land and receive a land lease from residents who will own the dwelling. It seems like Simon Richardson wants to this project to be one of his signature achievements.
Rural Dual Occupancy
On the other side, council staff were able to convince councillors not to proceed with allowing Rural Dual Occupancy on CT (Community Title) and MO (Multiple Occupancy) properties. RDO has been an outstanding success on rural properties that it is a shame this cannot be extended to other rural acreage properties as well – especially considering it is one of the few ways of providing more low-cost housing quickly instead of taking years.
Approval of RDO on MOs and CTs should be based on the capability of each site and merit. For decades MOs have made a strong contribution to housing in the shire. They also often assist with associated ‘living’ costs such as a supportive social structure and space for food growing. Habitat restoration is often a feature of this form of settlement. This could be a missed opportunity by the council to allow more dwellings without the usual overdevelopment drama.
Film Industry Update
A bit of clarity around the recent kerfuffle that happened last month and the gridlock due to the film production blocking Bangalow Road. The production of Nine Perfect Strangers, produced and starring Nicole Kidman, had arranged to block a section of Bangalow Road. Unfortunately, another department with council had organised to complete the bitumen on the Byron Bypass on the same day which meant that the two main entrances to Byron town were blocked at the same time.
As you know, this column likes to give credit to council when it does something right. But this situation was caused mainly due to council departments not talking to each other. This happens a lot it seems. Council departments are too heavily siloed and staff do not get up from desks and talk to other officers about things that are going on.
In this case, the film production had their part organised and locked in since August. No one from council knew or discussed their decision to block the Butler St bypass on that day. The film production had a bypass organised through Coopers Shoot but there was no communication to the public to inform them of this.
Film and TV is a growing and important industry in this area. We need more well paying, quality work to offset the predominance of tourism. We have many residents who are involved in the creative industries and film and TV professionals is an important part of this. Council needs to get it together and manage these productions better so the public is not so inconvenienced and want to ban them.
As Byron Shire moves from housing stress to the housing crisis and now housing catastrophe, some community groups are taking action. One Roof Byron is a grassroots organisation tackling involuntary homelessness. They will be holding there AGM and the completion of their first Tiny Home. The AGM and Tiny House Party is on Sunday 6th at 1/24 Towers Drive Mullumbimby.
Also, a new organisation has formed called the Woman’s Village Collective. This a grassroots movement of more than 700 local women, many of who are single parents, calling for action to address the current housing insecurity and looming homelessness facing women in the Northern Rivers. This group is They are holding an Urgent Housing Crisis Solutions Forum on Wednesday 16th December between 12 – 2 PM at Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club.
Of course, there is a number of protest against development as well. Residents at Brunswick Bayside are against the Kollective’s plan to build a boarding house and shops in this residential area. I understand peoples desire not to get too crowded out by overdevelopment. However, Byron Shire has less medium density than any other NR shire and there is such an extreme housing crisis at the moment. Everyone will need to give a bit.
Need Help With Farming?
Farming and specialty produce is a growing industry in the shire. Council has now appointed an Agricultural Extension Officer to help with your journey of developing your property to be a healthier, productive and profitable piece of land.
Andrew Cameron’s brief is to assist you with all your issues around improving your land and farming practices. He has set up a number of small-scale regenerative farms. You may have recognised him at local farmer’s markets as Possum Creek Farm, Byron Creek Farm and Byron Grass-Fed. He has worked in creating regenerative food systems and then building respected brands to sell produce to local top restaurants, farmers markets, retail stores as well as online and delivery.
Andrew is offering free on-farm site visits to farming enterprises that are looking to be more productive and sustainable, and to identify the major pressing issues and struggles and then create solutions to tackle these. For enquiries or to book a free on-farm consultation please contact our Agricultural Extension Officer on 02 6626 7223 or email – [email protected]