Council Round Up

2020-11-30 02:45

Housing News:

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.

Community Action

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]

Main Beach Erosion

2020-11-30 02:33

The Rise of the Red Zones.

2020-11-30 02:33

The only foreseeable calamity that could be facing Australia’s indominatable property prices is rising insurance premiums. In the near future it may become economically inappropriate to insure many homes against fire and flood. Here are two websites where you can go and see if you are in a suburb where insurance premiums may become difficult.

ABC: Suburbs Facing Rising Insurance Costs

RFS: Bushfire Prone Land

Michie’s Mad Mission

2020-11-30 02:32

Local Byron resident David Michie is on a mad mission. He is clearing the railway line by hand and is happy to get help. He has done a few kilometres already and is posting pics as he goes on his FaceBook page. This is also a great page to keep a track of what is going on in Byron. David has been a part of the Byron Masterplan group.

If you are a supporter of the Rail Trail, also linked below is the petition to NSW parliament to extend the Rail TRail from Bentley to Eltham. It only takes 30 seconds.

Michies Mad Mission FB page

Rail Trail petition

Architecture Awards

2020-11-30 02:30

Local Bangalow architecture firm DFJ has won lots of kudos this year. Principal, Dominic Finlay Jones, has assembled an impressive team and almost got a clean sweep with Architecture Australia awards. The firm won the top spot for New Residential House with Coolamon House, Residential House Renovations with Neal and Shirley’s 1950s home in Tweed, Multiple House with Easy Street at Habitat.

It needs to be said what a success the Habitat development on Bayshore Drive, Byron, has been. Like many things in Byron Shire, it took a long time to create – 11 years to get the DA approved. It is obvious that this kind of Live/Work environment is what the public wants. There should be more of it. Well done DFJ!

Slow Train Coming

2020-11-02 01:08

Looks like the momentum towards the NRRT (Northern Rivers Rail Trail) is finally moving towards the logical outcome. Anyone who has inspected long portions of the disused railway line will see that Multi-Use (Rail Trail and Light Rail) will not be possible without a humongous injection of funds. There are too many culverts, tunnels, bridges and gullies. Much of the raised section (ballast) was built by digging up fill from either side. This would need to be filled in to get a walking/bike track on the side.

A single line light rail will never be anything other than a dinky tourist activity. Interest, however, is increasing for the long-term vision of planning for a Byron to Mullum VLR (Very Light Rail) with new villages along the line. Please see the accompanying article.

Light Rail: Bring It On!

Land for Industrial Estates

2020-11-02 01:08

Drive through the Byron Arts and Industry Estate and you will see how busy it has become. Unfortunately, many of the parked cars are not just workers as many units have been converted into studios. The powers that be have been up against the wall of late trying to solve the problem of where to place more industrial land. The BILS (Business and Industrial Land Strategy) has now been passed by NSW state planning so, at last, things are progressing. Many of the successful local businesses (Byron Bay Cookies, Stone and Wood, Brookfarm, etc) have been crying out for space to expand and some have even considered leaving the shire.

Byron Arts and Industry Estate has no land to expand to, but across the road at West Byron (if it happens) has 7.5 Ha of land slated for industrial. Mullumbimby, Billinudgel and Bangalow industrial estates have some space that they can expand to. But a new area known as Gulgan East and West is also under consideration. This is flat land near the Blues Fest site (East Gulgan) and the large empty paddock south of Gulgan Road as you exit the Mullumbimby turnoff (West Gulgan). There is also a portion of land on Saddle Road Brunswick Heads under investigation for Business Park (Creative Industry offices). This land was originally earmarked for the Brunswick Eco Village. Somehow, and for some reason, this property has become very political and has coordinated opposition against it being developed.

Byron Shire is experiencing a big influx of people wanting to set up SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises). The idea of providing space for them and creative industries is necessary. We need to diversify from being a predominately tourist town. Also, local kids can find interesting rewarding work instead of cleaning Airbnbs and being baristas.

Life in a Film Set

2020-11-02 01:08

BPS has been super busy this month.  As well as the usual property search workload we have also been doing location search for one of the four major film and TV productions happening in the shire. For the next two months in Mullum and Bruns, you may well see the hustle and bustle of white trucks, lights and cables, hipsters with clipboards. This production is called Seriously Red and is a: highly original Australian feature film produced by Dollhouse Pictures & Robyn Kershaw Productions. The film is a celebration of identity and being the best version of yourself with an Australian and international cast. A highlight of the film is the underground world of the ‘Copy Club’. Its’ a lush world of expressive costume, glamour & kitsch where anything goes – think Studio 54 / Pose ( TV Series)

The main location is the Brunswick Picture House, which doubles as the Copy Club,  where “copy” or tribute artists get to perform. What a great venue this has turned out to be. Many top-level national performers choose it to be an out of town tryout venue before taking a show on the road. It is an ideal venue for this particular production as well, being full of character and charm.

Looks like Byron shire will be a choice location for future productions as well. With solid plans afoot for a dedicated film studio in Ballina. As well as stunning locations, we also are home to a large number of industry professionals. These productions have been an injection of funds into the community but they also bring issues as well. Cast and crew need to stay somewhere and this is only exacerbating our already dire housing and rental shortage. Some find it an imposition and it is interesting to hear more than a few locals would rather have the limelight shine elsewhere. It is important that the producers and crew on the front line remain courteous and respectful of locals and not steamroll over what already exists here.

Fri 27 November, 2020 12 AM
Michael Murray
Noted, since working on the feature film as location search as I mentioned, the pushback from the community is quite extreme. It seems like a bit of Hollywood sparkle does not go along way in this town.
Tue 24 November, 2020 12 AM
Alan Close
If film crews are going to continue using Byron Shire they need to compensate the community for the disadvantage they bring. Not everyone benefits financially from their presence. The rest of us are meant to just put up with the disruption they cause and, adding insult to injury, be grateful and even excited to have a few overpaid and underwhelming celebrities among us. Over the last months of 2020 Byron was overwhelmed with film and TV productions, causing massive overload to the rental market as they sucked up available rental stock for their crews and production teams. Long term local renters faced a traumatic shortage of rental stock and criminal increases in rents for the meagre stock left available. Film and TV productions need to sort out their own accommodation and leave the poor renters of the shire alone. God knows, it's hard enough for them already. And then there's the disruption to daily life these productions bring. Hundreds of locals were caught up in the traffic debacle in Byron Bay on the morning of 24 November, when the whole town was in gridlock due to the unannounced asphalting in Lawson St as part of the bypass roadworks. We were even more infuriated to find the back route rabbit run down St Helena Rd blocked off by police due to scheduled filming - which none of us knew about in advance. And we're meant to be grateful to these over-entitled arseholes? FFS.

Retirement villages

2020-10-30 01:09

Baby Boomers don’t retire, they just no longer turn the volume up to 11. There has been a lot of discussion about new retirement options since the Royal Commission into Aged Care. This article is interesting as it outlines some of the options to how retirement living could look in the future.


What Seniors Want

The Kollective in Brunswick Heads

2020-10-05 06:40

The Kollective is planning to soon lodge a DA for major housing development in Bayside, Brunswick Heads called the Corso. It is being referred to as a boarding house, see Community consultation meetings took place on Monday 14th September 2020, prior to a Council DA being lodged. The Boarding House comprises 48 rooms, with each room accommodating a bathroom, kitchen, living area, sleeping area, and a private courtyard/balcony to each room.

Bad Blood at the Beachie

2020-10-05 06:39

A previous owner of Byron’s iconic Beach Hotel is now facing legal issues with inappropriate usage of funds. Melbourne-based investor and race car driver, Max Twigg, lost a lengthy court battle in which he was sued by his mother, Diane, and sisters, Frances and Elizabeth. Justice Michael Ball handed down his judgment in the NSW Supreme Court on August 31. The court heard Mr. Twigg had committed “breaches of trust”. After his father, William Twigg, passed away in 1996, Max Twigg then began managing the companies within the Twigg Group. But his mother and sisters were shareholders and kept in dark with many of the purchasers.

When the Twigg Group sold to Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd for $155.8 million in 2007, Mr. Twigg gave his mother and sisters a $5 million “gift” each. Max Twigg purchased the “Beachie” for $44 mil in 2007 and sold it 10 years later to Impact Investment Group for $70 mil.

The Beach Hotel is an iconic Byron Bay institution. Its interesting history in many ways reflects the growth and changes of the town itself. Read about the amazing story here.

The Beachie – A Pub Like No Other

Australia Slips in Growth Ranking

2020-10-05 06:38

Australia slipped to 19th in the world for house price growth for the year to June 2020, according to the Knight Frank Global House Price Index Q2 2020.
In the same report for Q1, Australia had ranked 10th.
But it was still up 37 places from one year ago, when we were 56th, with negative growth over the previous 12 months of -7.4 per cent.

Topping the charts was turkey, whose 12 months change was up 25.7 per cent, with 11.2 per cent over the last quarter. New Zealand was the best-performing country in the Asia Pacific, with a growth of 9.1% over the past year, but it slipped in the rankings from 2 to 11 between March and June.

Knight Frank Price Index PDF

Off Grid Power Research

2020-10-05 06:37

Researchers at the University of Wollongong are conducting a research project to examine the social, technical and economic opportunities for the deployment of alternative electricity supplies such as microgrids and stand-along power supplies (SAPS) in fringe-of-grid applications.

You are invited to participate in this research by way of a semi-structured interview that will explore household understandings and experiences of microgrid / stand-alone power supply energy provision. The interview will take 45-60 minutes to complete.

Council Looks For Joint Venture partner

2020-10-05 06:36

Council owns a large piece of commercial land on Bayshore Drive in the Byron Arts in Industrial Estate.  They are looking for development partners to deliver contemporary and innovative commercial development on the site.

The EOI documentation will include more detail on the Council’s vision and objectives. They do not want residential and are thinking of something ecological,  educational, innovative and creative. TAFE will be the cornerstone tenant.

Interested parties will need to register on the council website link below. It is an easy process, and anyone who is interested is best to register on the Public Marketplace, within the Real Estate & Property Services category, for Property Development Services.

EOI on the Byron Council website

Paleo Pete’s Commune

2020-10-05 06:25

Peter Evans, was previously the co-host of My Kitchen Rules and moved to Byron Bay last year. He sold his multi-million dollar property in Sydney and is now opening a wellness centre at the Habitat. Evans is also known as Paleo Pete and is notorious for unconventional views around diet and health issues, conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination.

The “holistic” land-sharing community he is promoting promises a return to “tribal living” but 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, west of Uki.

The company involved owns the 1400-hectares. A share in the company grants the shareholder a 1ha allotment that is 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”. “Nightcap On Minjungbal” sits behind Mount Warning where the developers intend to sell 867 dwelling sites. It has a high bushfire risk zone which was another concern with the plan.

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.”

With credit to News Journalist Jane Hansen.

Look out for Smoke and Wriggly Things

2020-10-05 06:24

Spring has arrived this month, and while we welcome the warmer days, some homeowners are already finding snakes where they’d rather not. According to WIRES* CEO Leanne Taylor, snakes are far more prevalent during the spring and summer months, and especially when they are coming out of winter hibernation. Generally, they are placid creatures and if left alone will invariably disappear of their own accord – in fact, they are quite possibly just ‘passing through’ your yard in search of water or food.

Last week I was driving through the roundabout at the Cavvanbah Centre on Ewingsdale Road. I just missed a black snake trying to navigate the crossing. I was most impressed to see all the cars in my rearview mirror also take care to miss it. This is so much better than when I grew up in the outer suburbs and the immediate response to seeing a snake was to kill it.

Also, watch out for farm fires but don’t be alarmed. This time of year is when sugar cane farmers do a quick burn off prior to harvesting. These fires go up quickly and die down quickly.  The RFS gets many calls this time of year that are false alarms. Cane burn-offs often happen in the late afternoon and are more smoke than fire. The farmers involved are well-practised at keeping them under control.

More Filmmaking

2020-08-30 03:50

Last month we bought you the story on how we are being invaded by actors and production crew. There is the big $100 mil production led by Nicole Kidman, doing one of author Lyanne Moriarty’s bestsellers “Nine Perfect Strangers”, and being shot in Ewingsdale. The couple is staying at the $50,000 a week retreat The Range in Picadilly Hill.

There is also the 6 part series for Hulu as well as a low budget surfing feature. Sorry, we forgot to mention that Costa the ABC Garden Guru is also in town. He is here filming a kids show about maths with globally successful TV animation producer Kate McQuillan, creator of Dirt Girl World.

And if that was not enough …. there is more. Will Gammon is a seriously successful animation producer based in Byron Bay. He and his team of animators, now working out of the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate, have been involved in a number of Hollywood blockbusters as well as the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings series. He is now working with the Ballina Council on the idea of using some council-owned land near the airport to transform into film and TV studios.

Hello Byrollywood!

Bringing Back the Big Scrub

2020-08-29 03:49

BPS has always been a strong supporter of private landholders doing their own bush regeneration. There is a lot more of this going on than most people realise. Filmmaker and author Oren Siedler also has a passion for bush regen. She has been a strong supporter of the trend of private landholders planting native timbers and hopes to see the Big Scrub slowly come back. She began documenting this quiet revolution over ten years ago. “I was commissioned to film the stories of several largescale planting projects and the people on the ground getting their hands dirty planting the trees. I soon realized I wasn’t only following incredible re-afforestation stories, but a holistic movement towards an exciting sustainable future for the region.” Contact Oren if you would like to your bush regen project documented.

Oren Siedler’s website

Tweed Council backs Affordable Housing

2020-08-27 03:51

Tweed Councillor Ron Cooper has managed to get the council to back his proposal for an affordable housing scheme. The 4/3 vote approved the idea of spending $20,000 on a concept to build an affordable housing community at Wardrop Valley Road. Some councilors are for the concept but against the location as it is away from infrastructure and public transport.

Many of our neighboring shires are already streets ahead in delivering affordable accessible housing options to their residents. Clarence Valley Shire (Grafton) has been developing and owning low-cost housing for some time and have many dwellings in their portfolio. Please read the accompanying article in this issue.

Tweed Daily News article

Tony Narracott’s Eye

2020-08-27 03:48

This is a good time to remember Tony Narracott. Tony was a huge advocate for Byron Bay who passed away in 2007. One of the most memorable events at this time was his living wake – a huge party at the Byron Golf Club when he knew he was going to die of lymphatic cancer. He was a mover and shaker for many good causes and one of them was the Byron bypass. I was reminded recently of Tony’s Eye. This is a rugby football filled with his ashes and an eye painted on it and filled with his ashes. This “eye” has been placed above the old Byron railway station to keep watch and make sure the Byron bypass is completed. With the bypass nearly ready its a good time to remember Tony, all his good works and efforts, and be glad his watchfulness has been rewarded.

When the bypass is completed it will be time to roll out some of the town centre improvements outlined in the plan. Jonson Street will become more pedestrian-friendly and other changes can happen that were dependent on the bypass. The Byron Masterplan Guidance Group is currently calling for Expressions Of Interest for six new members. If you think you would like to contribute to this worthwhile group see the link below.

Byron Bay Masterplan Guidance Group

Tue 1 September, 2020 1 AM
John Bennett
Great way to remember a lovely character who did a lot for his community including a major Bequest to the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.

Celebrity Update

2020-08-27 03:48

My Kitchen Rules celebrity chef Pete Evans and model turned nutritionist wife Nicola Robinson, are making quite a splash in town. Evans and Robinson are opening a healing clinic at the Habitat in Byron Bay Industrial Estate. Mr. Evans has controversial views including being an anti-vaxxer and theories around diet that has him dubbed as “Paleo Pete”. He is also promoting (in a MAGA cap) a hippy commune on the Nightcap Range near Nimbin that went bust a few years ago.  A case of mixed messages?

Man about town is Hollywood heartthrob, Zac Efron. The star of High School Musical is apparently in love with Byron. He has extended his tourist visa for another 9 months and has even made a bid on a house. But even Hollywood heartthrobs don’t get it all their own way – he was outbid.

Just moving into new digs in Carlyle St Byron Bay is Josh White. He is the CEO and founder of sports and entertainment marketing agency Lampoon Group. On their management books are cricket superstar Ellyse Perry, former rugby international and TV star Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins, and Olympian Jessica Fox.

Dan Single, the founder of fashion house Ksubi, has moved from Sydney to Byron. The well-known style entrepreneur has had a few difficult years. He continues to recover from a fall from a Paris hotel balcony in 2017, and he’s making a clean slate after a recent split from his girlfriend, Bambi, after four years.

Last year we bought you a follow-up story on the Vanity Fair piece on local Instagram influencer Courtney Adamo. The article detailing her cushy, pastel life went viral and she was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism. The trolls argued that no one’s life could be that perfect – even with a fab house in Bangalow, five perfect kids, and an adoring hubby. Oh, don’t forget the massive family trust fund.  Ms. Adamo went quiet for a while, and now with COVID the life of an Insta influencer is not what it was. But to her credit, Adamo has surfaced again, posting, giving interviews. Living well in Byron seems to be the best revenge!

Courtney Adamo in the Daily Telegraph

Our Previous Article about Courtney Adamo


fed sheds federal

The Fed Sheds

2020-08-03 04:25

This is an interesting new planned development for Federal. The Fed Sheds proposal is for three multipurpose sheds providing space for artists, artisans, and entrepreneurs. The aim is to build a creative community, incubate small businesses, share knowledge and experience and help people to develop their ideas and showcase their product. It is proposed to be on the 4000 M2 site on the corner of Federal Drive and Coachwood Court.

byron bay affordable housing options

Affordable Housing Strategy

2020-08-03 02:04

Our Council often pays expensive out of town consultants to do reports. This one from Echelon Planning in Melbourne outlines the various options we have to introduce a mix of affordable housing options into the shire. Regular readers will know that I am continually banging on about this. We need more people to read this so a sensible discussion can be had about this crucial issue. You can go to this website and download the document.

Byron Shire Council – Housing Models Research

Mon 3 August, 2020 4 AM
Ilonka Hofmann
That's really interesting... this information needs to get out more, especially for people in housing stress or people who don't want any development

2481 banks

Byron and the Banks

2020-08-03 01:56

LMI is Loan Mortgage Insurance and protects the bank or funder against loan defaults. Mortgage lender CBA has increased their LMI insurance free deposit amount from 20% to 30% for new purchasers in postcode 2481. This is a panic reaction by the bank under the assumption that Byron businesses and owners of holiday let properties will be adversely affected by tourism numbers down post-COVID. A new buyer with less than a 30% deposit will have to capitalise this insurance fee on to their loan amount which increases the amount of the loan.

Speaking of mortgage rates: is now the second funder in Australia to offer a fixed rate below 2%. Bank of Us, in Tasmania, is also offering a fixed rate for one year of 1.99%, which then diverts back 2.75% after the introductory 12 months. Rates under 2% have been the lending equivalent of the four-minute mile.

mullumbimby master plan stuart st green spine

Mullumbimby Masterplan Update

2020-08-03 01:53

The first stage of the Mullumbimby Master Plan is about to be rolled out. Due to budgetary constraints, the actions of the plan will only be implemented as money becomes available. You can see the idea of the Mullum Green spine here and have your say. The bigger items planned for Mullum will be turning Burringbar St into a pedestrian-friendly “talking Street”. Through-traffic will be diverted down Tincogan and Fern street so that only slow, emergency and delivery vehicles will use Burringbar Street. Another idea on the drawing board is a walking track around the town.

Have Your Say – Stuart St Greenspine

australian map

Regions Do Well Post-COVID

2020-08-03 01:51

This newsletter also includes a full article from Domain outline the rush from the cities to Byron. If you want more facts and graphs about the move to the regions post-COVID, here is a report from CoreLogic that gives some more information and data on the COVID induced move from the city. This topic is also dealt with in this whole article in this edition.

Read the full article
BPS blog post on wealthy buyers flocking to Byron

eltham pub

Eltham Pub Gets a Makeover

2020-08-03 01:50

Ready to host a Post-COVID breakout is the beautiful old Eltham pub. Local travel influencer from The Vista, Julia Ashwood, and builder husband, has done a major reno on the 100-year-old building. It is open now with COVID limitation but could be well worth a visit. Each of the guest rooms are modeled using the stories and imagery of the local ladies from the past – with a bit of romance spice to liven it up.

But please don’t do this to the Biliundudgel Pub. The Billi should be kept forever in its ramshackle old-world charm. It’s a bit of our past we should keep reminding us of how it once was.

nicole kidman nine perfect strangers byron bay location

Seeing Stars

2020-08-03 12:52

Get ready for another onslaught of film and TV type people in town. Three new film and TV projects will begin filming in Byron in August. The big one is the $100 million production of Nine Perfect Strangers starring and produced by Nicole Kidman. This is the follow on to the huge international success of Big Little Lies. Sydney writer, Lianne Moriarty, has penned these two, and a string of successful dramas. Nine Perfect Strangers chronicles the weird and wonderful events that occur on a rural spiritual retreat – how appropriate for Byron! It will be filmed at the Soma Retreat in Ewingsdale pictured above.

Nicole and hubby Keith Urban were allowed to self-isolate in their southern highlands home at their own expense instead of a hotel. The other projects include a 6-part mini-series for streaming platform Hulu and a low budget feature film. If you think you have a great location and happy to have people yelling Camera Lights Action there, you can register your property here.

sotheby's comes to byron bay

Sothesby’s Comes to Town

2020-07-24 04:20

International prestige real estate brand, Sotheby’s will be opening up in Byron Bay and Tweed. Queensland Sotheby’s International Realty agent Dominique Vasers Williams intends to build the new agency from scratch. Sotheby’s only other regional shopfront is in Port Douglas.

Let’s hope it does not follow in the footsteps of the last two prestige brands in Byron. Nicolette Van Wijnngarten is currently a resident of Her Majesty’s ‘Big House’ after being found guilty of using the Unique Estates trust fund for a personal piggy bank. In 2013, Sarah Dougan formed a Belle Property agency and left the country with debts of over $30 mil, and a trail of tears.

As I have said many times in this newsletter, the vast majority of agents I deal with, in my daily activities while helping my clients, are nothing but honest and astute. I am sure the stats are about the same as most other industries but REAs continually have a bad reputation with the public and that is unfortunate.

real estate online video inspections

Video Killed the Real Estate Agent

2020-07-24 04:19

As well as working from home, video inspections are now the norm in a post COVID world. Look out for the new 3D online video clips coming to an agency near you. Some of the bigger agencies in the cities now employ a full-time videographer. This trend will soon stretch to the rental market as well. More info in this article. Also of interest in this area is online auctions. One has been ongoing for a property in McAuley’s Lane Myocum and is discussed in the Hot Property section which you can read here.

byron bay charity cases

Charity Cases

2020-07-24 04:17

This has been a time for all the community to pull together and support each other. There are lots of worthy causes around that are worthy of support, here are just a few for your consideration. Please help if you can:

Byron Community Pantry
The Byron Community Pantry has been in operation to help care for people doing it tough during COVID. Not only are there people living rough here but there are many international travelers who have been stuck here due to travel restrictions. The Byron Community Pantry has been providing up to 60 households each week with a week’s worth of groceries. In early May, the Byron Community Centre gave out a record of 1000 meals in just one week! This is a combined effort of Liberation Larder, Byron Community Pantry, and the Homeless Breakfast Hub.

Mullum Gateway
Anyone who has been passing by the Uncle Tom’s Corner (Gulgan and Mullumbimby Road) on the way to Mullumbimby will see the work being done on the Mullum Gateway site. The old rotunda and the totem sculptures are being moved, renovated, or replaced. Have a look at the video on the website and see what is happening. The Gateway has always been an iconic, unique spot in the shire. You can make a tax-deductible donation and help finish this work as they are just a bit short in completing it.

Northern Rivers Community Foundation
If you are new to the area, or been here a while, and need a way to get more involved, meet interesting people and help the community, you could do no better than getting involved in the NRCF. This community organisation has been productive and active for many years and does excellent work assisting many of the necessary community groups and Not For Profits. In 2020, the program has been changed to the Recovery and Resilience Grants Program. Grant applications close on August 17 and you can find out more here.

byron shire council charity cases

Council Matters

2020-07-24 04:14

What’s new news with our beloved Byron Shire Council:

Amnesty for illegal dwellings
Council is to pass a proposal that will allow illegal dwellings a new approval process. There is to be a moratorium for 15 months starting from June 15. The Unauthorised Residential Accommodation Policy will aim to resolve the large number of people living in unapproved structures. Council is in a difficult bind trying to uphold the law and provide enough safe, hygienic homes for people – especially at this time with a housing affordability crisis. It would not be a good look if the council starts throwing people out of their homes. If you have an illegal structure and want to get it approved have a look at the details here.

Bed Tax is Just Sleeping
The Voluntary Visitor Tax (VVT) had another setback last month in council. The VVT is better known as the Bed Tax and has been an idea waiting to happen as long as I can remember. The concept is that since we have almost two million visitors a year and there is no way for them to contribute directly to help fund the myriad of ways they are a cost to the coffers – toilet cleaning, road maintenance, public safety, park upkeep. Introducing a bed tax or levy on accommodation is a good way for visitors to keep Byron Beautiful. Unfortunately, it cannot be mandated through the state legislature so it must be voluntary. It is a difficult thing to introduce and the matter was deferred at a council meeting but let’s hope the councilors persevere and this idea is one day implemented.

Have your Say
One of my pet peeves is that many locals get upset with the council only when construction or rezoning happens. Community Consultation is part of BSC’s process and residents are able to participate in the process and make comments at the planning stage. Go to the Have Your Say section of the BSC website and make your feelings and preferences known at the appropriate time. The big ones worth looking at right now are the Residential Strategy (what land will be rezoned for more housing – always controversial), the North Byron Flood mapping, and the Mullumbimby and Bangalow Master Plans. Get on board and have your say now at the appropriate time, instead of just when the machinery starts.

tyagarah beach and your birthday suit

Tyagarah Beach and the Birthday Suit

2020-03-14 04:47

Let’s hope the ongoing dilemma at Tyagarah Beach is resolved. The tea tree lakes and beach at the end of Grays Lane, Tyagarah has been clothes-optional for close to 20 years. Most of those years have been placid and controversy-free. Then it seemed to get some online notoriety as a gay beat and venue for sex pests.

There seems to be enough effort put in by people who wanted to keep the beach family friendly. The beach had a surf life-saving patrol over Xmas and most of the school holidays. That was a good idea (thanks Cr Sarah Ndaiye) and seemed to do some good. Anyone who wants to maintain the beach as a CO venue and keep away the idiots – should put their bare ass (or clothed) on the sand whenever possible and keep it for the community instead of surrendering it to visiting deviants.

Sydney Morning Herald article

Colours of the Year 2020

2020-03-04 05:15

Attention all decorators and home renovators. Taubman’s Paints have selected their colour of the year to be “Night Watch: “Encompassing the tones of a dense tropical forest, Night Watch is a natural shade that is chic, effortlessly timeless, and destined to be a favourite in both the home and workplace given our urge to reconnect with nature in today’s tumultuous society.”

Not to be outdone is Pantone. Their colour of the year for 2019 is “Living Coral”. Pantone suggests the colour balances the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into our daily life: ‘Living Coral welcomes and encourages light-hearted activity, symbolising our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, and embodying a desire for playful expression’. So there you go!

Read about Taubman’s colour of the year on Homes to Love
Visit the Pantone website for info on the 2019 colour of the year

unique estates principal nicolette van wijngaarden fronts court

Unique Estates Principal Fronts Court

2020-03-03 07:45

Nicolette Van Wijngaarden appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney last Thursday. The former principal of luxury real estate agency, Unique Estates, is facing 10 charges of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and five charges of being an accessory to offences committed by a corporation.

Ms. Wijngaarden has surrendered both her Australian and Dutch passports. This trial hearing was to determine whether the case will go to trial. The business is owing $3.5M in debt and Ms. Wijngaarden is facing up to 10 years jail. She is currently living in Elwood, Melbourne and has to report once a week to St Kilda Police station.

Echo Net Daily article
Property Observer article

mark swivel the together party

Let’s Get Together

2020-03-03 04:06

Local lawyer, comedian, author, and man about town, Mark Swivel, is having a run at federal parliament. He will be running for the Senate in the election later this year – probably May. He has started a political party called “The Together Party”. Mark’s book is called “Let’s Make Australia Slightly Better Than Average Again” is quite a good read – smart and funny with a good synopsis of what’s wrong with politics and some ideas on how to fix it.

The Together Party is putting on a conference in Mullumbimby the weekend of February 15 and 16. Please come along if you want to get involved, or just attend some of the interesting discussions being held.

The Together Party website
The Together Party Facebook Page

nsw biennial land valuations 2020

NSW Biennial Land Valuations 2020

2020-02-09 05:09

The NSW Valuer-General just released the latest official land values. The office of State Revenue follows the property price trends. Every two years, this government department releases the land valuations on what landowners (who own more than their own owner-occupied properties) have to pay land tax.

Residential land values increased by 4.4% over the year, nationally. This compared with a 14.1 percent rise in the previous year. Land values are for the value of the land only, as of 1 July 2018. Rural NSW land values increased overall by 14.3% due to continued demand. One of the biggest increases was in Ku-Ring-Gai local government area where residential land values increased by 22.5%, as well as mixed-use premises along the Pacific Highway (45.8%). The Sydney Eastern Suburbs region saw its strongest increases in the local government areas of North Sydney and Mosman, which showed 14.4% and 11.2% increases respectively.

NSW Valuer-General Media Releases

zero emissions byron fundraiser

Zero Emissions Byron Fundraiser

2020-02-05 04:30

Zero Emissions Byron is a local organisation on a mission to reduce Byron Shires carbon emissions to zero by 2025. They are holding a fundraiser event on Saturday night February 9th. It is sponsored by Australian Ethical, Brookfarm, and Spell and the Gypsy Collective. The award-winning documentary “Mountain” will be screened, and a raffle with some major prizes will be drawn. Have a look at the “Mountain” trailer which looks spectacular.

Zero Emissions Byron website
Fundraiser tickets

mullumbimby gateway community project

Mullumbimby Gateway

2018-07-14 04:56

Opposite Uncle Tom’s Pies on Gulgan Road is the Mullumbimby Gateway. This installation greets our visitors as a special place to commemorate the biggest little town in Australia. Richard Mordaunt was part of the original crew who put it together in 1988. He and his partner Diana used to run the art gallery in Mullum above the news agency.

Mordaunt says the aim of the project is to “bring the whole site back to life, repair the totems and the town sign, re-stand the standing stones with new plantings across the site. There will be interpretive boards with local history, linking it with the town. It is public safe space for youth and locals waiting for pickups and rideshares and there will be a new pathway from the bus drop off to the gazebo.” Local state MLA Ben Franklin is behind the project and is looking for funding. Other contributors can go the website for tax-deductible donations –

To donate

byron tops domain's list

Byron Tops Domain’s List

2018-04-25 04:18

Domain just released the nine best holiday homes to stay in for a long weekend. Byron Shire, of course, won the two top spots:

#1 was The Chalet in Kingsley Street, Byron
It is billed as Palm Springs meets Byron and was recently featured in Vogue Living. Classic white interiors open on to a large backyard complete with a pool and cactus garden and an outdoor shower. It rents for $995 per night.

#2 was the Magical Rainforest Retreat in Main Arm
Domain’s blurb for the property reads:  “If heading off the beaten path is more your cup of tea, then why not book a long weekend at this secluded rainforest retreat. Whether you planning a romantic getaway or in need of some much needed “me” time, you’ll need to cross a fairy light-adorned bridge in order to enter this magical cabin, located within an enchanting 9.7-hectare property. For extra relaxing points, there’s a swinging basket chair hanging over the creek to enjoy.”

Full article

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