Landline Byron Bay

2024-03-25 11:28

ABC Landline TV recently did a segment on Byron Bay. The focus was balancing the high demand for developable land while maintaining enough fertile farmland. It’s still an ongoing issue. It’s worth a look – click here to watch.

Our Byron Community

2024-03-25 11:27

Chris Hanley is a long-term Byron local and the principal of First National Real Estate Agency. He has been involved in the Byron Bay Writers Festival, and his podcast ‘Our Byron Community’ has been going on for a while now. For anyone interested in local history, I commend the Oliver Dunne episode. If you are interested in the housing debate, listen to the one with Rob Doolan and Jack Dodds, who have much knowledge in this area.

Our Byron Community 

Mullumbimby Madness

2024-03-25 11:25

Big things are afoot in Mullumbimby. The next stage of the master plan’s rollout will involve changes to the main drag, Burringbar Street. It will become more pedestrian-friendly, and more traffic will be encouraged to use the bypasses.

I was a participant in the Mullum Master Plan Reference Group before COVID-19. Each of the attempted innovations since then has been scaled back, amended or ignored, mainly by vocal opposition from a few and people who don’t want change. Let’s hope the walking street concept gets through the gauntlet, as I think it will be positive.

Kaleido Mullum

Mullum will soon be alive with its Laneways Activation events. The centrepiece will be a three-day culture and arts fest on the first weekend of May. You can get involved by contacting Kaleido Mullum.

Burringbar St Changes

Wed 27 March, 2024 11 AM
The jewel in the crown of Mullum redevelopment is the Mullum to Billy railtrail the Mullum to Byron Bay railtrail. Everything else is just a bit of side salad.

Council Passes Residential Strategy

2024-03-25 11:23

Local politics is ugly when you watch how the sausages get made. Byron Council finally landed the contentious legislature, the Residential Land Strategy 2041. It was supposed to be delivered in 2016 but is only eight years late. The state government threatened to take their planning controls away, giving them the incentive to deliver.

The result is fairly safe and predictable. It will not deliver much of the ‘missing middle’ that the shire desperately needs: medium-density units and townhouses that will, in time, be more accessible and affordable. Most of it will be greenfield residential lots, which are safe and easy. The council does not have consent controls over developers to deliver the necessary housing mix.

We will get more housing in South Bangalow, Mullumbimby, and Brunswick Heads sometime. Only the one on Saddle Road, Brunswick Heads, has the possibility of delivering more interesting diversity. It also has a good developer team behind it (who brought us The Habitat). A late entry to get approval is the 1982 Coolamon Scenic Drive, Mullumbimby, which also has the potential for something interesting.

Don’t hold your breath for those suffering in the housing crisis. It will be many years before these sites are shovel-ready. To those who say this will cause an oversupply, take a deep breath. Yes, we are under enormous pressure because this is a desirable place to live, but we have had decades of minimal growth because of our anti-development ethos. This has come at a cost.

Byron Shire Residential Land Strategy 2041

MAFS Crashes Byron

2024-03-24 03:08

The highest-rated TV show is called Married At First Sight on Channel 9. It allows narcissistic sociopaths a platform to display their worst personality defects. This season, a Byron Bay local named Lucinda Light is one of the participants. She at least shows a degree of humanity, self-awareness, and goodwill and, as a marriage celebrant, has a legitimate reason to be on it as it promotes her business.

The other star is the property where they housed the couple’s retreat – Hinterland House in Bangalow. The property is at 1390 Hinterland Way, Bangalow and prior to this recent makeover was known as Jeblon Leigh, a stately manor house built in 1906. Luckily, the original inhabitants are not around to see the mismatched couples preening and bickering around the elegant rooms, pool and rolling green hills.

No New Loo

2023-07-04 04:32

Byron Council’s introduction of Rural Dual Occupancy has been a success. This is where rural property on acreage is allowed to build a second home but not have a second title. For council, it means they can get more residences in place without having to spend big on roads and infrastructure. For rural land owners, it is a way to provide a second dwelling for family members, friends, or tenants.

The rule used to be it needed to be 100 metres from the main house and use that same driveway. That has now been scrapped and owners can now site their 2nd home anywhere they want (STCA).

That did not help the 50 or so property owners in Ballina’s boutique Fig Tree Hill estate near Lennox Head. They have been denied from building second dwellings indefinitely owing to sewage concerns. The existing sewerage system servicing this area is not able to handle any more sewerage. There aren’t any plans to increase the network’s capacity, Ballina Council staff say because the project is considered too costly.

Old Byron Bay Images

2023-07-04 04:10

Thanks to long-term resident Kerry McDonald Baunach for putting together this website of old and gold images of Byron Bay. It’s easy to forget that Byron was not long ago a sleepy, little, coastal town where the main industry was either killing whales or cows. What happened? I have selected just a few of them here with some commentary. Thanks to ex-councillor Jan Hacket who donated a lot of the pics.


The sign we used to have entering Byron Bay before the new one was put there: Cheer Up, Slow Down, Chill Out. The new sign was put there by an independent wag and was not planned or authorised by the council. It is now very popular and council should provide a small parking bay there as it is dangerous with people stopping to take selfies.


Byron Landmark on the Jonson and Lawson St roundabout. It was the Orient for many years and home of many restaurants.


For a time in 80s the corner shop was called Get Frocked which I thought was a pretty good name for a dress shop.


This is a pic of the BB surf lifesaving clubhouse during the 1974 floods. Apparently, one of the houses on Border Street, Belongil Beach was also hanging over the edge during this storm and decided to sell for $1000 at the Great Northern on the night. The house is still standing there.


This is an aerial of the old Byron Bay meat works. It was used for whale processing as close as the 60s. It was then an abattoir and after that had a life as the Epicentre, where it was a venue and used for artist studios. John Cornell and Paul Hogan even used it to shoot a few scenes of Crocodile Dundee there. It was torn down and eventually developed into residential building lots. John Cornell and Delvene Delaney bought a chunk of it and the remaining ones have now the beachfront lots have been selling for over $20 mil.


The original Byron Bay School of Arts building was erected in 1895. It went through a variety of names and uses and the iteration pictured was after a renovation in the early 1980s. The murals were added by two local artists. The Byron Bay Community Centre we know now was completed in 2002 after nearly 20 years of fundraising. It was designed by architect Ian McKay and faced fierce opposition by opponents wanting to keep and restore the original.


An aerial of Wategos beach – probably circa 1970s. In 1933 Murray (Mick) Watego leased some of the land. He and his wife, Mary and 10 children grew bananas and other fruits and vegetables to supply local and Sydney markets. In 1961 Council put up for auction approximately 86 lots of land. The average price in 1961 was $700, and in 1970, $2320. It would take over 25 years for all of the lots to be sold and built on. The last Wategos record for a house was $22.5 mil and blocks with tear-down houses on them have sold for $5-7 mil.


A disheartening picture of a Bunjalung man – the original, and only true local resident of the time. SAY YES TO THE VOICE!

Images of Byron Bay

Endless Summer is Over

2023-04-29 03:08

Byron council last week made the wearing of leg ropes in the surf compulsory. The fine is $1100 if not wearing one. This occurred because a regular surfer at the pass, Mathew Cassidy, nearly lost a leg when hit by someone else’s runaway board.

Whether this will make any difference at all is doubtful to many locals. Most people wear leg ropes for their own convenience. Who wants to go swimming all the way to shore to retrieve it? Yes, there is a small posse of Mal riders who like to be unshackled when ‘walking the plank’. It is very rare to see no leg ropes in a big swell where a runaway board can do real damage. The issue of how they are going to police it is the main head scratch.

This is skirting around the edges of the real issue: good breaks when they are working, are now getting too crowded. Accidents will happen because there are too many people vying for the same waves. How to police that is the main dilemma. I see a day when surfers will be able to surf only after buying a ticket and having a maximum number allowed in the water. That will be interesting to police.

ABC Leg Rope Story

Tracking Housing Cheats

2023-04-28 02:08

A dilemma for any branch of government is the cost of enforcing regulations. It is easy to make new laws, but if some of the population ignores them, an LGA has to police them.

That is the case with secondary dwellings and studios that were approved a few years ago by BSC. Council contribution fees, approx $20-25K, were waived with the understanding that the infill dwellings would be used for affordable housing. It is true that many people took the money but still went ahead and listed them on the Short-Term Rental Accommodation market. This article outlines how the council is preparing to enforce these properties to be used for permanent rental, as agreed.

While they are talking about it, I wonder if they are aware of this new platform that does exactly that. is software that uses existing public and private domain data to track and find listing and leasing anomalies. The recent debate about the 90-day HL limit, yet to be decided on by the Independent Planning Commission, would do well to have had accurate data.

The Deckard name was inspired by the main protagonist in Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. The book was turned into one of my all-time favourite films, Blade Runner. The character Richard Deckard, played by Harrison Ford, is a bounty hunter in the future, locating, testing, and ultimately ‘retiring’ genetically engineered humanoid beings.

BSC ruling on studios

Things to Do in May

2023-04-27 07:02

Aquarius 50 Festival

One of the things that made this region special is the Aquarius Festival held in Nimbin in 1973. Like Woodstock a bit earlier, it defined the times and a generation and many more people say they were there than really were. I was not there, I was thinking about it and decided not to go at the last minute as did not want to sleep rough.

It has been 50 years now since that seminal event and the 50-year anniversary is in full swing. It happening between the 12 – 23rd of May and you can go here for the full program.

Harvest Food Trail

Northern Rivers Food runs the successful Harvest Food Trail each year. On the weekend of the 6thth and 7th of May, you can travel to a number of fab foodie outlets and suppliers, doing tours and eating good locally produced food.

Northern Rivers Rail Trail

If you haven’t done it yet, you need to get on your bike! The Northern Rivers Rail Trail is open from Crabbes Creek to Murwillumbah and it’s fabulous. This is the perfect weather and season to be doing it. I did it with Steve from Beyond Byron E-bikes as they trailer the e-bikes to Moobal and pick them up when you have done the return trip. Allow about 4 – 5 hours for the ride and lunch. Also, dont forget to keep pushing for Byron to do their bit to finish it all the way from M’bah to Casino.

Our Byron Community Podcast

Real estate agent and long-term chair of the Byron Writers Festival, Chris Hanley, has started a podcast. He interviews local residents who have interesting stories to tell about their time in Byron. This episode talks with the architect and urban planner, Jack Dods. You can download the podcast here on Spotify or Apple Podcast

Crying Baby Festival

Unfortunately, you just missed the Crying Baby Festival which just spat the dummy in Japan in April. This festival has been running for over 400 years and involves Sumo Wrestlers holding one-year-old babies until they cry. The Japanese believe giving a baby a good cry is good for their health and longevity.

Aquarius Festival 2023

Harvest Food Trail

Beyond Byron Ebikes

Chris Hanley Podcast

Crying Baby Festival 

Digitising DAs

2023-02-26 11:57

With all the talk of AI and chat botts taking over, it seems NSW planning is going digital as well. To the consternation of many and the enthusiasm of some, processing DAs and the approval process will be handled online in the future.

Development Applications are being lodged on the Department of Planning portal and not individual councils like in the past. Once the DA is logged, stored, and a fee taken, it is then sent to the respective council for processing and (mostly) approval. In time this digitising process will probably eventuate in council staff processing DAs on behalf, and for, state planning and not under their own auspice.

Some councils in Queensland are already fully digitized. The cost-saving exercise has the potential to cut the DA process from 32 man-hours to 4. Many applicants interacting with of Byron Shire Council will be happy to see this introduced here. NSW LGAs are supposed to have a turnaround time of 40 days per DA. Byron council can take anything up to 10-12 months.

Could it be that the long delays in BSC applications are a strategy to hold up excessive development? Could it be that the state government is conducting LGA amalgamation by stealth? The cost and efficiency savings of council amalgamations looks tempting but amalgamations have turned out to be a no-go option with the electorate.

NSW E-planning strategy

Best Of Sri Lanka Tours

2023-02-26 11:35

Many readers will not be aware of my side hustle which is leading small group tours to Sri Lanka. Obviously, this venture was put into mothballs during Covid but now is a good time to resurrect it and get back on the road.

Planned for this June is the first tour I have put together following the work of famed Sri Lankan architect, Geoffrey Bawa. He is an innovator and protagonist of what has become known as Tropical Modernism – polished concrete floors, white walls, dark teak posts and beams, and red tile roofs. We stay at many Bawa hotels and some signature architectural places of interest.

November is the Mountain to the Beach tour. The classic Best of SL tour as it sees the best of the tea country, the Cultural Triangle as well as relaxing and pampering at the beautiful beaches and hotels on the south coast.

Early next year I am putting together a tour for Byron locals and lovers of Byron. This will start of on the south coast at Talalla Retreat and then take a leisurely through the tea country and more.  Limited places on all of these so look forward to talking to anyone interested sooner rather than later.

Details are available on the website and click through to VEIW TOURS.

BOSL website

Parking Problems

2023-02-26 09:03

In 2010, Byron council spent $50,000 on changing the signage and rules to stop ‘rear in’ parking. These days it is ‘front in’ parking only. The complaint was that all the roadside diners were being gassed with exhaust fumes while they were eating and coffee-ing.

It seems this expensive signage is not popular with everyone. The ‘front in only’ wording is only small and at the bottom of the sign and easy to miss. Many visitors and tourists are stunned and annoyed when they get the $120 fine – also not spelled out in the signage.

Be a good host. If you see people who are not aware of the ruling and parking the wrong way, inform them of the issue before it costs them a fine.

Mon 27 February, 2023 11 PM
Michael O'G
Great idea. many of us have been doing it for years and visitors really appreciate it. Good encouragement!

Carbon Stories

2023-02-25 06:07

If you are sitting on a large parcel of rural land and wondering what to do with it, here is an idea. ZEB, Zero Emissions Byron, is compiling stories of local landowners who have been regenerating their property with forests. There are a number of grants and support systems available to help people reforest their vacant land and it is a good way to improve your land quality (and value) without a lot of expense.


Drawdown Stories

bay fm team

BAY FM Gets Top Award

2022-10-31 01:54

Our own local community radio station Bay FM got a major award for excellent programming. The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia held its national conference in Cairns last week and Bay FM was gonged for providing necessary coverage during the flood event in February and March of this year. Station President, Ange Kent as well as on-air news presenters Mia Armitage and Kate Payne were on hand to accept the award.

We need to appreciate this terrific local FREE service more. Please donate to support Bay FM at this link when you can.

Bay FM Donate

fake byron beach

Cruising with Fake Byron Beach

2022-10-26 11:48

Is imitation really the best form of flattery? The newest ship with P&O Cruises Australia’s is called the Pacific Adventure. It just arrived in in Sydney before boarding a boatload of frolickers and heading out to sea. yesterday and will be departing on her first sailing on Saturday.
There are new features like waterslides, 21 dining options including Luke Mangan’s casual poolside Burger Bar. But the stand out attraction certainly must be the “Byron Bay Beach Club”
The newly transformed ship is the cruise line’s third and final ship to join its fleet and will be homeported in Sydney year-round.

Byron Bay Beach Club 

about soil

Talk About Soil

2022-10-26 11:45

The Farm at Ewingsdale will be hosting a talk about Soil on Thursday, November 10th. It will be delivered by Matthew Evans a food writer, television broadcaster, and chef who lives and works on Fat Pig Farm in Tasmania. Tix are $38 and proceeds from tickets to this event will be donated to Northern Rivers Community Fund (NRCF) and distributed to local, regenerative farming initiatives.

Eventbrite Soil Event

fraudsters and fantasists

Fraudsters and Fantasists

2022-10-26 11:42

Byron’s growing fame and popularity obviously include a few negatives. One of them is this notoriety attracts fraudsters and fantasists. Often these characters come head-to-head with the real estate industry and buyers’ agents in particular. This article from the Doman talks about some of these individuals who circle around some of the top-end properties in Sydney.

A few years ago, a well-dressed couple with lots of bling did the rounds here. They were shown lots of properties and made all the right noises before fading off into oblivion. No one who dealt with them could figure out what kind of scam they were playing. It was probably they were just dreaming they were in the multi-million-dollar, property-buying game. This included spending money on solicitors and building reports. It would seem harmless enough but is a waste of time for those professionals involved.

Domain article

byron after floods

Build Back Better After Floods

2022-10-26 11:40

Byron Council is conducting community consultation on how to build back better after the floods. The consultation process closes on November 18 and delivers findings in December. The idea for this talkfest is to reconsider long-term planning strategies in light of the life-changing flooding we experienced in February. This is well overdue as we are still operating on decades-old LEPs and DCPs. We should have started this 10 years ago and at the pace that we move on these urgent matters I fear it will be too late when finally delivered.

After The Floods Discussion 

bike trail

Bike Trail

2022-09-02 03:49

Last month, I did another walk along the disused rail line between Billinudgel and Ocean Shores. A group of us have been exploring the track for some time and promoting bike tracks and the rail trail. Cr Asren Pugh and a few other councillors have also walked some sections. Cr Pugh then successfully motioned to the council to investigate the bike path between Mullumbimby to Wooyung – with a side trail to Brunswick Heads.

Let’s remember that Mayor Michael Lyon committed that 12 months after the election (last December) to drop the idea of returning trains to the track if the required funding did not appear. That time is nearly up so it should be time for the train enthusiasts to see the writing on the wall and get behind the Rail Trail. The same as Tweed Heads, Ballina and Richmond Shires who are already proceeding. Cr Pugh’s proposal will see a bike trail connecting Mullum to M’bah with side tracks to Brunswick Heads and Ocean Shores.

If you want to get involved and do some of these rail trail walks, ask to join David Mitchie’s FB page.

Or become a member of the NR Rail Trail Support Group.

Rail Trail
Michie’s Mad Mission
Byron (and Mullum) Masterplans About to Unfold

holiday letting

Holiday Letting Maps and Guidelines

2022-09-02 03:49

As many of you know, the Byron Shire Council have been successful in lobbying the state government for an increase above the 180-day per annum restriction. LGAs in all of NSW are now able to restrict STHL (Short Term Holiday Letting) to a maximum of 180 days in one year. Byron Council is the only exemption and will soon be able to restrict HL booking to 90 days. You will be able to make a submission up until October 31st.

You will still be able to Holiday Let part of your house, or a studio, for 365 days if you are a resident on the property while you are hosting guests. The restriction is aimed at limiting the takeover of houses in high-demand areas to be converted to full-time HL businesses.

There are also cut-out areas that have a high acceptance of HL that will still be allowed to let for a full 365 days a year. You can view the maps and get more details here on the BSC website page.

Also worth a read is this fact sheet from NSW Fair Trading that provides guidelines on enforcement and penalties. The big HL platforms like Airbnb and Stayz have agreed to work with the state agencies to monitor the bookings so these restrictions are able to be enforced. More background info is in the blog.

Update – Short Term Holiday Letting

NSW Fair Trading

BSC STHL proposal

365 Exemption map

Holiday Letting Changes

Airbnb Byron Bay – What is the Problem?

Another Round on Holiday Letting

The New Enova

2022-09-02 03:49

Many locals and readers of this newsletter would have been Enova Energy customers. It is a shame that our local community energy provider did not have the muscle or the deep pockets required to survive the hustle and bustle of this country’s chaotic electricity market.

It seems the new provider with similar values and green credentials is Energy Locals. I have made the switch to them and they seem pretty good. If you feel like supporting a local, green energy provider then try this one. It is easy to switch.

Energy Locals

Poo Power Coming to Town

Council Round Up

Tue 6 September, 2022 2 AM
Michael Murray
Thanks Nicola, good to know. I will watch it closely. I assume that is mainly digital sign-up and billing. They are probably not ideal at customer service. That is one way to keep the costs down I suppose. Thanks for letting us know. Michael
Tue 6 September, 2022 1 AM
Nicola Reeves
One note of buyer beware on Energy Locals. I switched to them when we moved up here 6 years ago. I subsequently ended up taking them to the Ombudsman after their non-disclosure of a critical change to my plan when we installed a Smart Meter and some particularly poor customer service. The whole farce took over 8 months to resolve. They may be cheap and green but that does not guarantee you ethical service - just my two cents worth and hopefully an isolated experience. We've since switched to another provider and have had no issues since.

byron baes

TV Review of Byron Baes

2022-05-27 02:38

Check out this hilarious review of Byron Baes by Margaret Pomeranz. In case you missed it on Charly Pickering’s Weekly on ABC. This Netflix series documenting the ups and downs of a group of Byron Bay influencers is a show people love to hate. I did a piece on it a couple of issues ago and you can see my take on the TV extravaganza here.

Byron Baes Review

Looking at Byron Baes thru the Crystal Ball

A Bad Influence?

post flood rebuilding

Post Flood Rebuilding

2022-05-27 02:12

Anyone interested in the future of Lismore CBD would enjoy watching this short video. It follows someone who is responsible for rebuilding many of the Lismore CBD buildings and making them waterproof. Mullumbimby should be looking at this as well.

If you are interested in the outcome for Mullum – the NSW Independent Flood Inquiry has been extended. There will be a meeting at Mullumbimby RSL on Monday 6 June, 10.30 – 12.30. You will need to register to attend and you can do that here.  It will be live-streamed if you can’t go in person. Register here for a place.

Lismore tour with Scotty and Murray

A Flood of Words

We Need to Talk About This: Good Development vs Bad Post Flooding

post-flood prices

Property Podcast: Post-flood Prices

2022-05-27 02:05

I have highlighted this podcast before. The elephant in the Room is a property commentary by two people who are pretty good at their info. One is a Buyers Agent and the other is a mortgage broker. The first part of this episode looks at the potential of Ballina, then it moves on to whether prices will be affected by flooding. So this one is worth a listen.

Ballina and Flood Talk

Peak Property

Byron Property Heading Into 2022

in the news

What’s in the news?

2021-11-28 11:52

These two articles zero in on current matters of interest in the real estate market. The first story is an ABC online article explaining the frustration of underbidders who go through the trouble and cost of due diligence only to find that quoted range was way below the final sale price. Agents say it is just what happens in a frenzied market. Buyers say it is a calculated ploy to get people hooked into a listing or an auction to get competitive bidding. Both are correct.

If you think you have been the victim of an underquoting agent, there is only one thing you can do. Ask to see the listing agreement between the agent and the vendor. If the price the agent is saying they can get is more than 10% higher than what the agent was advertising the range to be, then you have a case and take it to the ombudsman.

The second article is about the slowing in some areas of auction clearance rates. This could herald a slowdown in the market – or it could not. This article may not be able to be open to all readers. Basically, CoreLogic data is showing auction clearance rates declining over recent weeks. Last week the clearance rate slumped to 74 per cent, a reasonably high rate by historical standards, but well below the 90 per cent rate recorded earlier this year.

Agents underquoting
Auction clearance
Gazumping! Everything you need to know

how to vote

How to Vote?

2021-11-28 11:48

We have an excellent voting system, which is mainly free of influence and fraud. However, preferential voting is more complex than first past the post. Also in these local council elections, we are asked to elect a Mayor and the full Council so there are two ballots.

The mayoral voting ballot is fairly simple and best to number your choice in order of preference. Best to do at least four. If you vote for just one and your candidate is eliminated your preference will not be counted.

The vote for Councillors is a bit more complicated in that you can vote above, or below, the line. Voting above the line means that you will accept the preferences of the Group or Party for which you vote #1.

Voting below the line is for those who want to select candidates individually and have their own order of preference. You need to number at least four or your vote will be invalid, but best to number as many as you can be bothered to. Also, your vote will be invalid if you vote above AND below the line on the same ballot card.

To make it simple, let’s say you are voting for the Mark Swivel Team. Not that I am biased in any way and am just picking a candidate randomly. In the Mayoral ballot, you would put a #1 beside SWIVEL Mark in the bottom box. Then you would number PUGH Asren, LYON Michael, CLARKE Bruce 2,3 and 4 or any order you like. If you want to vote below the line, choose Group d #1, Groupo f #2, Group E #3 and Group G #4.

BTW, as a Covid restriction, polling booths are not allowed to hand out How To Vote Cards this time. There are polling booth supporters outside to help you with your choice but they cannot give you an HTV card. You can take a picture of the QI code and use that inside. If you wish to follow the Mark Swivel Team HTV, the QI link is below.

Happy voting and enjoy your sausage.

The Vision Thing, by Cr Mark Swivel

Council Elections – What You Need To Know

rentals legal

Get Those Rentals Legal

2021-10-31 11:55

When I first moved here in the mid-80s most houses and studios were not DA approved. Over the years that has quickly been changing as more and more city buyers have purchased using city solicitors and conveyancers.

It is a good idea for landowners to build studios and granny flats as much as possible. There is a housing emergency and it looks like the powers that be are either incapable or unwilling to do anything about it. Therefore the private sector (you and me) need to do as much as we can to help. If you did not see the Four Corners programme on this issue, try to see it on ABC IView.

Lots of things have moved on from the 80s. It is now imperative for owners to have any rental properties legal. I plan to go into the details of this issue in a later blog as it is wickedly complex. In this shire, there are many hundreds of residents living in unapproved rentals. It is a major source of affordable housing and I wish we could just turn away from compliance as we have done in the past.

But there are legal, liability, insurance and economic storm clouds brewing over this so be warned and do your best to be DA approved. There are valid reasons why real estate agents no longer want to lease unapproved dwellings.

Unapproved Housing Moratorium

Council Stuff

The MST Campaign Launch and Art Auction

2021-10-31 11:13

What has been missing from Around The Traps are the many Meet The Candidates events. All were swept away by COVID and the election itself was postponed. It is now happening on December 4th and I implore any readers who are not registered to vote to do so. You just have to google vote and follow the prompts to the Australian Electoral Commissions Website.

Tonight, November 2nd, the official launch of the Mark Swivel Team is on at the Byron Theatre. If you are interested in attending go to the MST website and book a ticket if still available. It will be a good show with Lisa Hunt and Joel Salom performing.

The following week, November 9th will be the fundraiser auction. Many standout local artists have donated work and will receive 50% of the proceeds back as a way of supporting our struggling arts community. Supporters can also buy a Supporter Pack that includes a corflute and a t-shirt for $100. There is also the accompanying article here that gives you an overview of the candidate field. Get involved – it’s called democracy!.

Mark Swivel Team website

MST Fundraiser Auction 

The Vision Thing, by Cr Mark Swivel

Let’s Get Together


I Spy Koalas

2021-10-31 11:05

We are in the middle of koala mating season. This means they are more mobile and out there to be spotted. Bushwalkers and rural landowners could benefit from this new app. The NSW Government has launched a new app – I Spy Koala.

The app allows community members to record their sightings of koalas in the wild. App users can enter information about the location and condition of the koala, as well as photos and other information. Better information about koalas leads to better koala conservation and better planning decisions.

I spy koala

Plant More Trees Info

Look out for Smoke and Wriggly Things

holiday letting changes

Holiday Letting Changes

2021-10-31 11:03

I have probably posted more stories about Holiday Letting and Airbnb than any other issue over the years. Maybe this latest development will help settle it but somehow I doubt it. The new STRA planning policy framework has been introduced and the NSW Gov wants all STHL owners to register their properties. If you are a host and share a house with guests then not much will change. If you rent out a fully self-contained house you will be restricted to 180 days in each year in which you can rent. Byron council, especially interim mayor, Michael Lyons, wants to restrict this even further to 90 days. Most people in the industry doubt that the state gov will allow an exception for Byron Shire. Also, there is a discussion about how it would be policed and even if it is fully legal. Read the full regs below in the link.


STHL Guidelines and Registration

Holiday Letting Maps and Guidelines

Update – Short Term Holiday Letting

Airbnb Byron Bay – What is the Problem?

changing lending rules

Changing Lending Rules

2021-10-31 10:55

From November, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), has made a simple, but significant change to the lending rules for banks. It is an effort to slow down the overheated property market. Good in theory, but again, will probably have unintended and negative consequences.

Borrowers seeking housing finance will now need to demonstrate that they are able to meet higher repayments when interest rates are assessed at least 3 per cent higher than the actual loan interest rate. This assessed rate, also called the buffer, floor, or serviceability rate was reduced to 2.5 per cent above the standard variable after the pandemic hit. This low-interest rate and easier access to finance is probably the main contributor to the skyrocketing house price we are seeing nationally, and especially in desirable lifestyle destinations like Byron Bay.

The unintended consequence is this will hurt entry-level, families and mid-level house buyers more than the top end – where we are seeing most of the heated buying. It will also hinder downsizing and people wanting to move from empty nests. This is exactly the type of people who need to move on and free up mid-level housing for new buyers entering the market.

Most top-end buyers purchasing in this area are cash buyers who do not require bank finance. They are already at an advantage as buyers requiring a bank valuation are put to the back of the pack over offers that are unconditional upon finance. Again, this is a policy good in theory but bad in practice!

Rush To The Regions – Byron Growth Rate

First Home Owner and Construction Grants

Regions Do Well Post-COVID

plant more trees

Plant More Trees Info

2021-08-30 01:43

Many tree changers coming to this region want to make a positive contribution to the difficulty we are facing with climate change. Many owners or rural acreage are keen to make a difference by planting more trees. I have often been asked to assist new clients with this. Zero Emissions Byron is an NFP that has been active in this space for some years and now are compiling the stats on the amount of forest regrowth in the shire.

ZEB includes the Replant Byron Alliance that connects revegetation organisations, landholders and professionals.
“Our focus is now on supporting tree changers to manage their land in a way that draws down C02 and discourage land uses that emit C02 i.e. slashing and intensive monocultures/grazing”.

There are many regrowth specialists available now in Byron Shire. The cost of revegetating comes in at around $40,000 p/ha or $16,700 p/acre however it is important to promote all the benefits of this land use so that people are not deterred by the cost.

Zero Emissions Byron

I Spy Koalas

Poo Power Coming to Town


Covid Catch Up

2021-08-30 01:26

It’s time for some Vax Facts since there are lots of maybes, dunnos, who knows, who cares, out there. Also, there is lots of understandable reasons and desire to turn off from the latest COCID communication. It all gets a bit too tiresome – really.

  • We currently have no active Covid cases in our area but traces have been detected in the sewerage which is a concern.
  • Byron Shire’s Covid vaccination rate is trailing behind our neighbouring LGAs.  The single-dose uptake is at 46.1% of adults over 15) while the double dose is 25.0%. Nearby shires are Ballina 61.4%/37.4% single/double. Lismore 50.7%/ 26.6% and Tweed 57.3%/30.6%. Be interesting to know what Mullumbimby would be? The best in the state Ku-ring-gai at 78.4%/52.4%
  • Zoran Radovanovic, or Byron’s Patient Zero, is claiming he is not so bad. The Rose Bay, Sydney man was accused of flouting lockdown and driving here with his two teenage sons while knowingly being Covid positive.  Not true, he claims now out of quarantine. He says he was travelling for a legitimate reason (real estate) and had no idea he was COVID positive. The real unknown remains, and no one seems to be asking, or knows the answer: if he and his sons were for so long and infectious, how come we did not become a cluster? Dunno!
  • For those who like Sammy J who does the quick comedy skit on the ABC Thursday nights. He did a funny take on Byron Bay being locked down.
  • With lockdown now extended till September 10, what are our chances of freedom? Our main hope may be to have the border bubble idea resurrected and become temporary Queenslanders. There was some talk of the new temporary boundary be as far south as Ballina. That is now dropped and what NR towns are lobbying for is the Tweed River. That will still keep us locked out of Qld.
  • If you are a landlord wishing to give your tenant a discount or a moratorium, who can find out about government support here.
  • Nyck Jeanes, the president of Bay FM, a local community radio station, has been asked to step down. It was suggested that his anti-vax and anti lockdown views were not consistent with the station’s policy. He will continue with his Friday morning radio show.

Sammy J Byron Bay lockdown

Tenant support

Here Come The VESPAs

depreciation schedules

Depreciation Schedules

2021-08-29 11:59

Many investment property owners are not aware of the savings that can be made by doing a proper depreciation schedule. Anh Nguyen from Duo Tax is offering BPS readers a 10% discount on the fee if they mention this piece.

Duo Tax Quantity Surveyors, explains how tax depreciation works. It can benefit your cash flow and the upkeep of your investment property. Depreciation is the wear and tear that occurs as things get older. The cost of this depreciation can be deducted from your taxable income. The majority of owners get to claim an average of $7,500 of tax depreciation in their first year alone. If you are interested, Anh can provide a free estimate on how much value resides for the first year. Use this link and Duo Tax can provide a free estimate on how much depreciation you can claim by using this link –  Duo Tax Depreciation enquiry

Byron Property Heading Into 2022
First Home Owner and Construction Grants
Deposit Support Schemes

john cornell

Vale John Cornell

2021-08-02 12:44

John Cornell died in Byron Bay in July, after battling Parkinson’s for 20 years. He was 80. “Strop” has a massive influence on Byron during the decades he and his family lived here. Many will remember him as a philanthropist and donor to local worthy causes, as well as a TV and film producer, co-creator of world series cricket. He was a canny and astute operator in many fields.

He was the owner of a sizable chunk of Byron Bay real estate, mainly in Belongil Beach and Ewingsdale. Other successful purchases/developments include the iconic Beach Hotel. He was also owner, along with another local big media player, David Gyngel, in the Brunswick Heads Hotel.

The making and launching of “Crocodile Dundee” were heady days for Byron Bay. The Epicentre, formerly the abattoir in Belongil, was where some of the interior scenes for Croc Dundee were filmed. The launch party in 1986 was in the venue now known as the Surf Shack, which I managed to crash. When Paul Hogan married co-star Linda Kozlowski on his Possum Creek property, the eyes of the world’s media suddenly turned on our funky little town.

Some would say that Hoges and Strop made Byron what it is today, but I dispute that. Byron was already on some kind of weird trajectory when they moved here. We already had the arrival of the surfing contingent from California, Bali and Byron were already entrenched on the hippy trail. Hoges and Strop tried to do the same in the Queensland coastal town of Seventeen Seventy but it did not stick. Shirley MacLaine was in reality the first Holywood property owner here and was a purchaser here in the early 80s.

But vale John Cornell – he was a lover of Byron Bay, and Byron Bay loved him back.

The Beachie – A Pub Like No Other

Bad Blood at the Beachie

poo power

Poo Power Coming to Town

2021-08-02 12:40

Byron Council is wanting to go out on a limb with two innovative and costly projects. One is the large solar farm in Dingo Lane, beside the Manse Road Recycling facility. The other is the BioEnergy Treatment Plant. This one is planned beside Byron Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) west of the Arts and Industry Estate. Both projects are part of the package to get the council to zero carbon emissions.

You can view and provide feedback on its Development Application. It is for the construction of a fully enclosed bioenergy facility at the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). If constructed, it will be a first-of-its-kind facility in Australia.

It is expected to generate between 3 to 4 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year. This is approximately 50-70 per cent of the Council’s total annual electricity consumption. It would reduce Council’s carbon emissions by up to 20 per cent (equivalent to taking 1,030 cars/year off the road) and remove the Byron STP from grid electricity. Excess energy feeds back into the grid.

Council’s Senior Project Manager for the bioenergy facility project, John Hart, said the facility would use dry anaerobic digestion technology to process the Shire’s residential and commercial organic waste and convert it into renewable energy and a compost product. It no longer looks or smells like poo at all.

The construction of the facility is estimated to cost between $15-20 million and Council is currently applying for State and Federal grants. Mr Hart said Council would meet its contribution towards the project from loan borrowings with no planned increase to rates or Council charges to ratepayers.

“Over 20,000 tonne a year of the region’s organic waste is currently transported to Queensland, so this facility presents an opportunity for Byron Shire to take control of its own organic waste with a local solution,” Mr Hart said.

Read more about the Bioenergy project here. 

Council Update

election issue

Election Issue

2021-08-02 12:23

This month’s edition was going to be about the local council elections that were happening next month. Since it has now been put back to December 4th, this focus will now happen in November.

Many people are as surprised as I was by the number of candidates throwing their hats in the ring. It is a very strong field as well and we should all appreciate these civic-minded people willing to do their bit for the community. As we all know it is lowly paid and councillors get a lot flack.

As an avid council watcher for over 30 years, this one will not be boring or bland. It is encouraging to see such a strong turnout of potential candidates. I find that truly inspiring and yet another sign of the deep and passionate connection most of us have to this place.

I encourage everyone to get more involved, or at least understand the major issues. I believe Byron Shire can no longer just coast along with business a usual attitude. We are experiencing unprecedented changes and these must be understood, managed with a clear vision of where we want to be in five or ten years.

I am a supporter of the Mark Swivel Team.  Mark will make a good mayor, Meredith Wray is a keen and knowledgeable candidate. And if the cards fall well, number 3 on the ticket, lawyer-turned-farmer, Venetia Scott, would make a terrific prime minister.

You can get more information on the MST website. I also encourage all my readers who live in or love Byron to also go to the donate page and help us get the word out.

Mark Swivel Team

The Vision Thing, by Cr Mark Swivel

Council Elections – What You Need To Know

fast bucks

Buck “Fast Bucks” Fast Pls

2021-05-31 04:50

At long last, the invidious influence of a certain local character is finally coming to an end. Activist and serial troublemaker John Anderson, aka Fast Bucks, has been coasting on his laurels of being a protector of the environment in the 90s for far too long. His latest party trick of invading the councillor’s area while the council was in session and looming over Cr Sarah Ndiaye was one misstep too far.

He has had a history of bad behaviour, intimidating people and causing havoc during council meetings. He is a failed councillor and was unable to complete a full term himself but still has a delusional self-belief in his own opinions. The Echo and a rapidly diminishing contingent in the community have been giving him far more respect and column inches than he deserves.  At a time when there is zero tolerance for any kind of macho, belligerent, misogyny this is one old white male we can do without. Council has formerly issued Mr Anderson with a court order to not enter council chambers in the future.

Politics Schmolitics!

upcoming events

Upcoming Events

2021-05-27 04:57

It’s great to be out and about and avoiding a lockdown. Let’s enjoy ourselves with lots of winter events:

Byron Music Festival is on the 19th of June. All ages welcome and street food available. $30 per person and is on at Beachside Denning Park, Byron Bay. Hoping it does not have the incredible bad luck that Blues Fest had in April.  Some headliners are: Wolfmother, Tijuana Cartel, Hayley Mary (ex Jezabells), Kyle Lionheart, to name a few.

Byron Writers Festival happens from Friday, August 6 to Sunday, August 8. It has an excellent lineup of writers to man the panels: Behrouz Boochani, Leigh Sales, Malcolm Turnbull, Benjamin Law, Min Jin Lee, Markus Zusak, Sisonke Msimang, Bruce Pascoe, and Alison Lester. It is at the same fabulous location – Elements Resort in Bayshore Drive Byron Bay. Let’s hope for fine weather.

land banking

Land Banking

2021-05-27 04:57

This story came out in a few journals claiming that Land Banking was one of the reasons for our housing shortage. Land banking is where developers buy land and keep it on the shelf until the optimum time to release it onto the market. Some shires have been known to implement sunset clauses on DA approvals to stop this.

This activity may be true in Lismore and Tweed Shires as mentioned here, but I don’t buy it in Byron Shire. If you exclude West Byron and the two remaining stages of Tallowood in Mullum, then I could count on one hand the number of new releases already approved in Byron Shire. This is another furphy like stopping AirBNB is going to resolve affordable housing.

ABC Land Banking

Tue 1 June, 2021 1 AM
Too right! Thanks for consistently being a voice of reason in the housing crisis, calling out these red herrings.

fletcher street cottage

Fletcher Street Cottage

2021-05-27 04:54

It seems the private sector is doing more for the housing sector in these difficult times than the bureaucratic public sector.

Creative Capital, the management company behind the very successful Habitat in the Byron Industrial Estate, has partnered with the Byron Community Centre. Fletcher Street Cottage is a council-owned house, behind the old library building, that has been inactive for a few years. Brandon Saul from Creative Capital and Louise O’Connell, GM of the Byron Community Centre, are volunteering their time and skills to help raise funds, redesign the space and manage renovations for the growing needs of the homeless. .

Byron is second only to Sydney for homelessness,” says Louise. “This hub will provide much-needed services for our growing homeless, many of whom are women.”

Want to support by donating your time or money? Got a question, or just want to stay updated? Enter your email below or contact Elise at Creative Capital: [email protected],
0439 982 252.

Fletcher St Cottage

tiny home village

Tiny Home Village

2021-05-03 02:34

On the 7- 9th of May, the Renew Fest will be happening at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds.  There will be a selection of lots of events and activities on how to do things better. This year’s festival is partnering with Resilient Byron. The main event to many readers will be the Tiny Home Village in the arena. You will be able to see and inspect an array of alternative mobile and tiny homes. It will be happening at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds and tickets are available through the website attached.

If you want to exhibit a tiny home or portable dwelling, still not too late to apply. More info is also on the Renew fest Website.

Renew Fest

Resilient Byron 

reality check

Have a Reality Check with NRCF

2021-05-03 02:33

The Northern Rivers Community Foundation is a well respected local organisation that has been active in the community for many years. Their annual grants program has a great track record supporting local groups and causes. The wider community owes a debt of gratitude to outgoing CEO, John Callanan (pictured). John has led the organisation for eight years and is leaving it in a very strong position. The incoming head is Nicole Weber.

To their credit, they have now recognised the dire need with the local housing crisis and have opened a special fund to focus on this issue. Many readers of this newsletter are previous clients or local property owners in the area. Many have benefited from the massive recent increase in property prices. Those that are missing out are the long term residents like musicians, artists and the casually employed who are the ones who mainly give our region its colour and flavour. These people need our support.

NRCF has made two donation options available: IMPACT NOW is a fund that will assist existing local support organisations to keep doing their vital work. LONGER TERM HOUSING SOLUTIONS will work with partners to make affordable housing a reality.

Please donate to the Housing Fund and help grow affordable and low-cost housing in our region. I have come to accept the reality that waiting for any level of government to achieve productive outcomes in this space is wishful thinking. Individuals joining together and making things happen is our best option.

NRCF – Housing Fund

farewell simon

Farewell Simon

2021-05-03 02:31

Simon Richardson has been the Byron Bay mayor for 9 years and has 15 years on council in total. He retired on the 30th of April.

It is a tough job being a councillor and an even tougher job being Mayor. Simon has weathered the criticism and knockbacks better than most, but I am sure it has not been easy. His partner, Jane died of cancer in 2019 leaving Simon a single Dad of two young girls. He often came to events and functions with the two girls in tow.

It’s hard to know why local politics in this shire is such a blood sport. All four Green councillors with Simon’s leadership have done a good job under trying circumstances. As we head into the next local election in September we should reflect on whether we still want to keep doing local politics this way.  The excuse that we have a committed and passionate community does not mean that we should attach people with vindictiveness and rancour.

Farewell Siman and thanks for all the fish.

read the fine print

Read the Fine Print

2021-04-22 02:51

A Sydney tradie has lost his $241,500 deposit due to not fully understanding the wording of a contract. The $4.8 million deal on a luxury Sydney property fell over because the buyer, pool fence contractor Theo Alexakis, missed the payment date by two days and the sellers cancelled the exchange.

The house on a large block with waterfront views in the high-end suburb of Vaucluse was supposed to settle on April 4, 2019. The contract’s fine print stipulated the deposit balance must be paid “on the fourth month after the contract date”. The buyer assumed this would mean any day during the fourth month after the exchange.

The court found that, although the contract’s language was “awkward”, the full amount still needed to be paid before August 5, 2019. Mr Alexakis was holidaying in Greece and was returning on April the 6th. Assuming that the deposit balance could wait the extra two days meant it became a very expensive holiday.

be a healthy farmer

Be A Healthy Farmer

2021-04-22 02:48

BSC is offering a great resource that not a lot of people are aware of. Andrew Cameron is currently on staff who is there to assist people needing help with their rural properties with farming or land care. Here are a few events coming up for people to be aware of:

May 19th – Soil Biology Workshop DPI Wollongbar – The soils team at DPI will present a 2-hour workshop This is a rare opportunity to hear from this highly qualified research team Headed by Lukas Van Zwieten, Senior Principal Research Scientist Soil & Water R&D, NSW DPI, Director Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute, Program Leader Soil CRC, Adjunct Professor Southern Cross Plant Science
Adjunct Professor Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University.

Great chance to learn about spoil from the experts.

May 18 – 19 Scenic Rim QLD – Farm 2 Plate Exchange – An incredible array of Farmers Key Note speakers and food businesses who are working on ways to create a better food system. Speakers such as Charles Massey, Bruce Pascoe, Joel Salatin and other great inspirational farmers. Much learning networking and sharing to be had.

May 29 Saturday – Field Day at Red Earth Farmers Fernleigh. – Neil and Belinda are first-generation farmers that run a successful and dynamic market garden enterprise servicing a number of farmers markets in the region with a wide variety of crops specialising in flowers and bagged salad mix.

We will be joined by Sourdough Business Pathways for a discussion on local business support and the services available to help get new growers to start up, skill up and scale-up


A full day outlining the importance of soil and practical knowledge on how to improve it with a focus on Regenerative Grazing. There will be a wealth of knowledge to be shared with some great experts of our region a  lot of who I have been mentored and studied under myself so I can testify to their strong capabilities.

Vital knowledge for anyone looking to improve their soil fertility, production and carbon-storing capabilities.

Wednesday 23rd June at Leela Farms in Myocum

Cost $27 which included morning tea, lunch and wind up drinks.

Get in Fast!


Farm 2 Plate Exchange

Field Day @ Red Earth

Our National Capital Tix

secret apartment

Woman Finds Secret Apartment Behind her Bathroom Mirror

2021-03-25 03:25

Yes, this one sounds wacky and is pretty out there. A woman living in New York kept noticing a strange breeze coming out of her bathroom. Curious, she was able to see that the breeze came from behind her bathroom mirror. She and her flatmates took the mirror down and found a hole in the wall behind it.

With a big breath and a lot of courage, she climbed through the hole into the dark space behind it. Here she found a complete three-bedroom apartment, in a partial state of renovation but uninhabited.  She decided this was something she should probably take up with her landlord.

Secret Apartment Video

jailed unique estate agent early release

Jailed Unique Estate Agent Gets Early Release

2021-03-25 03:24

This information was provided to me by a reader and I have not been able to verify it through Professor Google. But since this newsletter sees lots of interest in this story, the information is provided here but has not been verified.

Nicolette Van Winjgaarden, the principal-agent of Unique Estates was sentenced to at least one year nine months in jail in November 2019.  She was found guilty of embezzling $3.69 mil from the company trust fund. Many local residents and former employees were badly burnt in this fraud.

Apparently, she has been released 6 months early and has been living in Manly, Sydney since February.

Unique Estates established itself as a top-end agency with six agencies throughout the country. It went after many wealthy and famous clients including Chris Hemsworth and others. it seems Ms Wijngaarten decided to siphon off funds from the trust account to keep the flash cars, first-class air travel, and excessive lifestyle intact when the sales turnover was not enough. She got a reduced sentence for handing herself in and taking her medicine.

No Longer Unique

interview with a vampire

Interview With a Vampire?

2021-03-25 03:23

I found this interesting and some readers may as well. Terry Agnew is one of the owners of West Byron development. It is easy to caricature these big-money developers as greedy, cigar-chomping philistines who take glee in stomping on local communities and eating the heads off small furry animals for breakfast.

That may be true, who knows? I am not a fan of West Byron and not keen on more brick and tile greenfield developments. I think there are better ways to deliver cost-effective housing without such an ecological cost – but planning regulations need to catch up first.

But in dealing with people like this, it would be far better to understand them and learn how they think and what drives them. The take-home is that he just seems like someone who would be open to negotiate with and get a good outcome for Byron instead of fighting it for decades and getting something no one wants. In this interview, he starts talking about Byron Bay around minute 13.

Terry Agnew Interview

Wed 31 March, 2021 1 AM
Definitely would be great to get Terry around the table and talk about the future for Byron Bay. How he can help in some way in a positive manner that helps the smaller fry like you and I.

byron and mullum masterplans

Byron (and Mullum) Masterplans About to Unfold

2021-03-25 03:23

Byron Council gets a large amount of criticism from residents and some sections of the media. This barrage is relentless and, unfortunately, never seems to include any of the good things that council does achieve. In order to redress this imbalance, please take notice of the soon to be unfolding of plans that have been in planning for more than a few years. The volunteers of the Byron Masterplan Committee have worked tirelessly to shepherd this process through the system and need to be thanked for their efforts. Residents and neighbours need also to be thanked for some tolerance and patience while the works are carried out.

1. Sandhills Skatepark and Recreation Precinct

Behind the library and the courthouse will soon begin the $2.6 million skateparks and recreation precinct. The project has been through two rounds of community consultation since 2018 and will be put out to tender in the middle of this year. The project is being funded by the NSW Government’s Road and Election Infrastructure Commitment Grant and the Council.

2. Byron Rail Corridor

Byron Bay Rail Corridor Restoration was also expected to start in March but has probably been delayed due to rain. This project will open up the area between Lawson St and the new bus interchange to create a pedestrian and cycling link across the town centre and make what is currently a run-down, unused area accessible to the community. Plans include the creation of a boardwalk and pathways from Butler Street and the western side of the rail corridor, into the town centre and Railway Park.

Let’s hope the design and works are to the same standard as the award-winning Railway Park in Jonson Street. Also of a good standard and getting good reviews is the soon to be completed bus interchange in Butler Street. Well done Councillors, Council staff and everyone who has been involved in these two projects.

3. Mullum Greenspine Parklets

The first stage of the Mullumbimby masterplan is what is known as the Green Spine. This is to make Stuart Street a greener more landscaped thoroughfare. The second stage after this is to make Burringbar Street (the main street thru the heart of Mullum into a “Talking Street” where cars will take a back seat to pedestrians.

The first stage is two Parklets to be installed in Stuart Street, either side of the Burringbar intersection.  It will look a bit like what is in the picture. I think this is a good start and look forward to the rolling out of the Greenspine. However, it behoves me why council has an aversion to engaging local providers to complete these projects. The parklets will be made and delivered by a firm on the Gold Coast to the tune of $55,000. Beats me why they cannot find talented locals to build this, using funky recycled timbers and have some Mullum style flare. This one looks pretty bland and corporate. Come on council, you can do better!

Skatepark comments
Byron Council Update May 2022
Poo Power Coming to Town

Tue 30 March, 2021 8 AM
Rikki Stubbs
Clearly the $55k did not include anything for design. Poor Mullimbimby if that photo represents the design or no design I would suggest. Very unattractive. A metal box ? Really is that the best they can do ?

styling for sale

Styling For Sale

2021-02-28 11:01

Many people are realising the benefits of styling their house prior to selling. Statistics show an average of between 3 to 17% increase in final sales price on homes that have been styled versus those who have not. On a million-dollar home that can be quite a chunk of change.

Over the years I have used home styling a number of times for my vendor advocacy clients. It can work extremely well in the right circumstances. Generally, I am against sellers spending large amounts of money prepping a home to get ready for market, but is some situations I strongly encourage making those cosmetic changes that can make all the difference between an OK sale and going OTT.

Smart Home Styling is a new company in town. Tracey says she can restyle your home without spending a lot of money by using existing furniture and accessories and just moving it around to present it better.

I have also used Cactus Hill in Mullumbimby. The retail furniture shop is on the corner of Station and Burringbar St Mullumbimby. The owners are able to use a combination of what is there and bring in a few new pieces to really show your place in the best light.

Colours of the Year 2019/2020 from Taubmans & Pantone

transport options

Transport Options

2021-02-28 10:56

This photo has gone global around the world. It shows the amount of space used up on a city road depending upon the transport choice you use. In the image, there are 69 people, which is the number that fits in a full bus. The number of cars needed when holding 1.1 passengers. It goes to show how important alternative transport options are in decreasing traffic.

council stuff

Council Stuff

2021-02-28 10:55

DA’s backed up

The ongoing movement of people to the shire has not only affecting property prices. It also is having knock-on dilemmas for the council. In the past, the average number of DAs (Development Applications) in progress averaged around 150. Currently, DA’s are backed up and now sitting around 400. Most LGAs (Local Governing Authorities) promise 40 days to turnaround a DA. Our shire has been flat out getting something through in 3 months and expect that to get longer.

Rural Dual occupancy’s for MOs and CTs

This is very important, Rural dual occupancy has been very successful as a way to quickly and easily get new dwellings without having to re-zone land. For some odd reason, the council have decided to disallow rural dual occupancy on Multiple Occupancy’s and Community Titles (MOs and CTs). This issue will go on public display in council next month. Everyone concerned about the dire shortage of rentals and the homeless should make a submission on this issue. Legalising dual occupancies should be an option for all rural properties. Please contribute to this discussion.

ID – Informed Decisions

BSC has access to the demographic data resources of .IdCommunity. Next month I will bring you some more info on the economic activity of the shire and how it has faired during COVID and what it looks like coming out of the pandemic.

Bypass – finally

The Byron Bay bypass was finally opened along Butler Street. This piece of well-needed infrastructure has been in the pipeline for over 30 years. I suspect that the many opposing voices about this change will be wrong that it will not make any difference. Of course, it is not a silver bullet and the Byron CBD will still have congestion issues, but, as in the masterplan, we can gradually make Jonson Street into a more pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare.

Here is a previous story about Tony Narracott who was a driving force for the bypass.


Tany Narracott’s Eye on the Bypass

get outa dodge

Get Outa Dodge!

2021-01-30 03:02

Some Australian real estate agents reported a spike in international enquiries during, and just after, the crazy storming of the US capital last month. Christie’s International Real Estate agent Ken Jacobs said he received more inquiries in the immediate aftermath of the riots that killed at least five people.

Expats in Britain favour Manly and Byron Bay in NSW; Noosa in Queensland; and Fremantle and Secret Harbour in Western Australia. Singapore-based buyers prefer Toorak, Glen Waverley, Hawthorn and South Yarra in Melbourne and Mosman in Sydney. Jacobs detected another reason for Australia’s popularity with wealthy Americans. “A lot of Americans think the rest of the world hates them but think there is a friendship with Australia,” Jacobs said.

traffic changes

Traffic changes for Byron Industrial Estate

2021-01-30 03:01

Council is introducing a  one-way traffic trial for Centennial Circuit in the Byron Arts and Industrial Estate. Anyone who visits there will know how busy and hectic those streets can get. It is set to commence on the 27 & 28 February 2021.

The trial will run for 6 months, after which Council will evaluate its success. To help them benchmark the trial, they would like your feedback on your experience of using Centennial Circuit during this period.

They want as many people as possible to take the survey. The survey is open until 26 February 2021. They will ask the same questions again during the trial to see if there has been an improvement.

In the week leading up to the trial, road and traffic works may be required.  The Council will endeavour to avoid inconvenience to business owners and their employees as much as possible but be patient while it is being rolled out.

Wed 3 February, 2021 4 AM
Yasmin Lang
One way traffic would Definitely be a good move as the traffic is scary when a big truck appears around the corner on the narrow road.
Tue 2 February, 2021 3 AM
Michael Murray
Yes I agree, I think it is a good idea. I find it very hairy driving around there now.
Mon 1 February, 2021 10 PM
I think this is a wonderful and safe idea for all

celebrity visitations

Celebrity Visitations

2021-01-30 03:00

Hollywood actor Matt Damon has been back in town. He is to reprise his role in the upcoming Marvel film Thor: Love and Thunder. The family, wife Luciana and three daughters, self-isolated for the required 14-day quarantine in a private residence in the Byron hinterland.

“I’m so excited that my family and I will be able to call Australia home for the next few months,” the actor said in a statement. “Australian film crews are world-renowned for their professionalism and are a joy to work with so the 14 days of quarantine will be well worth it. Australia definitely is the lucky country, and I can’t wait to show my family Australia’s down to earth people, breathtaking scenery and diverse culture.”

Of course, the location of where they were staying was kept private. I have had personal experience with being “Papped” and it is not fun. Once, with a well-known, but a very private client, I had the experience of being followed, photographed by a hidden camera and photo published in a trashy global paparazzi magazine. Byron locals are pretty chilled and laid back about celebrities in our midst and let’s keep it that way. My one interaction with paparazzi and the celebrity media has given me compassion and understanding of life under the microscope.

Also Starring in Iso

Actor Mark Wahlberg also spent 14 days in quarantine at a private $2500 a night property in Byron Bay last month. He was initially sceptical about self-isolation but is now a fan.  “I respect the rules because they keep Australia safe and open. That’s why people don’t really have to wear masks, restaurants are open, gyms are open… I went and visited an F45,’ he revealed. “You guys really handled it well. I really take my hat off to Australia and how they handled the pandemic.’ Unfortunately, Mr Wahlberg is here to film an ad for online betting agency Ladbrokes. These betting ads are something I really hate and the main reason I rarely want to watch free to air TV anymore.

getting along with bats

Getting Along With Bats

2021-01-30 02:48

As a buyers agent, there is always something new and different to learn. Especially with rural land and properties. I have learnt to ask my clients to use a local conveyancer as city solicitors are often flummoxed with local flora and fauna issues. One that was interesting that came up recently was how to handle bat colonies nesting on your properties.

Fortunately, we don’t eat bats, in fact, they are strictly protected. This is not always ideal when bats and humans have to co-habit in close proximity. I recently did a purchase for a client where there was a nesting bat colony for part of the year. It took on an extra level of complexity to ensure that the construction or humans are not going to interfere too much with bats. Summer sunsets can be lovely to watch the swarms of bats flying out of their colonies looking for food.

I was interested to see the same is true in the UK as well. This week, it was Australian actress Cate Blanchett’s turn, with news sources reporting that she’s been told that she can have her new meditation space, so long as she first rehouses a colony of endangered bats. Surveyors recently discovered the bats making their home in a dilapidated building on her East Sussex estate. Now she not only must rehouse them, but she will have to incorporate a ‘bat loft’ into the design for her new garden office, studio, and a meditation room in case they return.

It is good to see that humans, and regulations, are shifting to accommodate other species on the planet. The days of just bulldozing through and doing what you want with nature is now in the past.

council round up

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]

Mon 1 February, 2021 9 PM
Gary Brazenor
The Bayside lot is a B1 commercial zone not medium density residential. We need more commercial zoning & amenities too. There is no transport, jobs or parking for a development this size in Bayside & it doesn't pass the character test. Every other property must provide off-street parking but a boarding house only needs to provide .5 parks per apartment which will leave a spill over of 80 plus cars parked in the streets causing safety issues for existing residents & their families. I can see these developments working in Byron, Sunrise or Mullum where there are jobs & workers can walk, ride or catch a bus to work.

main beach erosion

Main Beach Erosion

2020-11-30 02:33

Many locals and visitors have been a bit morose over the lack of beach sand at Clarkes and Main Beach this spring. This good ABC article explains why this is happening. It will return in time but it looks like it has been caused by an unusual direction and strength of the northerly current – not so much by erosion.

You may notice that both Wategos and the Pass has ample beach. Also, further north as well. It seems the sand deposits, known as sand slugs, are bypassing the beaches immediately around from the Cape Byron Headland.

Much concern has been registered by customers and owners of the Beach Cafe. This cafe sits on crown land but is now a multimillion-dollar business. Ben Kirkwood is the owner and manager of Beach and has reacted to the false rumour that he will have to plan for future retreat due to the erosion issue. Mr Kirkwood says sandbags have been installed, and a 17m man-made sand dune is also having an effect.

“We’re open for business and we are staying open” Kirkwood has said. Let’s hope this venue and byron icon stays in business for many more decades.

(picture courtesy of ABC)

red zones

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

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 details (now closed)

Tue 2 February, 2021 12 AM
Ms Janét Moyle
It looks like this petition is closed.

architecture awards

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!

Tue 2 February, 2021 2 AM
11 years for a DA! Unreal, I thought Sydney was bad. I would like to know how many of 100 DAs in Byron goes to the Land and Environment court.

slow train coming

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

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.

Tue 2 February, 2021 1 AM
Peter John
How is it that an Industrial Estate (Sorry,Arts and Industry Estate) is allowed to become a quasi Housing Estate? The Work/Live/"Made in Byron" idea simply got out of hand and thus the need now to redirect traffic flow.You take your life in your hands driving through this area with the congested and haphazard parking arrangements.

life in a film set


Life in a Film Set

2020-11-02 01:08

Life in a film set! 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.

It 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.


Whats Screening Now


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

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

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

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

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
NSW Biennial Land Valuations 2020

off-grid power research

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.

joint venture partner

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

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.

smoke and wriggly things

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 Cavanbah 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.

Byron Bay’s Tourism Strategy

more filmmaking

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!

the big scrub

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 affordable housing

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

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

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

New York Times: Celebrities Escape the Virus

I’m a Celebrity! Get me to Byron

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.

affordable housing strategy

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

byron and the 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
Council Matters
Mullumbimby Gateway Initiative

regions post-covid

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 seeing stars

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.

Nicolette Van Wijngaarden is No Longer Unique
Jailed Unique Estate Agent Gets Early Release
Unique Estates Principal Fronts Court

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.

Post Flooding: Where to Give and Where to Get

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.

Byron (and Mullum) Masterplans About to Unfold
Mullumbimby Masterplan Update

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

Byron Bay’s Tourism Strategy

Look out for Smoke and Wriggly Things

colours of the year 2020

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 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.

Read Cr Mark Swivel Vision Statement

While we’re at it, check out the Byron Zero Emissions Fundraiser!

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 –

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

Michael’s curated list of Byron Shire’s Hot Properties

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