Byron Bypass and Masterplan
Byron council is often the cause of much controversy and angst. But in relation to these two issues I think the majority of shire residents have cause to be happy. The bypass has been on the drawing board for well over 30 years and the councillors need to be applauded for finally getting it done. In concert with the freshly approved Byron Masterplan we can look forward to a revitalised town centre. The bypass will not solve all the town’s traffic issues but it will be a big start.
The Masterplan will take a large amount of traffic out of the town centre and prioritise pedestrians. The foreshore and parkland (in front of the Beach Hotel) will be redesigned as well as Railway Square (opposite post office in in front of Railway Friendly Bar). Jonson Street will get a complete facelift and be the primary town centre. The wetlands and Sandhills area (east of the courthouse) will be incorporated into the town centre.
Market wrap – July
Apparently the federal election, Brexit and other uncertainties are cooling the wider real estate market. That is not the case here as far as I and local agents are concerned. In the standout postcodes of 2479, 2481, 2482 and 2483 it has been busy business as usual.
We are currently experiencing the strongest demand in ten years. Winter months are usually quieter than spring and summer with November and February being highest months for settlements. This winter is continuing as strong as the summer months. More real estate is available below in the Hot Property section.
No dramas in our two local northern Rivers electorates. Labour’s candidate Justine Elliot was returned in Richmond (Ballina, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads) while National’s Kevin Hogan was returned in the seat of Page (Nimbin, Lismore, Grafton). There was a 5% swing to the Greens and One Nation also polled better than expected.
Byron Shire can pride itself on being unique and different. That can be great for some things like tourism and marketing but not for politics. When we are neither a marginal seat or have a member with the governing party, we often get left out when handing out infrstructure money.
But it may pay off with the vexed topic of shire amalgamation. If we werent so troublesome we would be a definate target for amalgamation. They know they would have a big fight on their hands. Also, our neighbouring shires are terrified of the idea of having to amalgamate with Byron.
Food, Glorious, Food
I always thought that the next big industry after tourism in this area would be health and wellbeing. That includes yoga, spas, retreats and seminars. At the moment it looks like specialty food is now the major growth area. There is so much interest in this activity. The phenomenal success of The Farm is a good indicator. This is the successful paddock-to-plate enterprise at Ewingsdale at the Byron exit of the Pacific Highway.
I was recently at a talk held by the Sour Dough group. This is an organisation of successful business operators formed to help promote local industry and start-ups. The 60 or so attendees split into areas of interest after a talk – Creative Industries, IT start-ups and food production. The foodies outnumbered the others by two to one.
Byron branding on gourmet or organic produce is a big winner. We have cookies, coffee and beer already and there is more on the way. There are now two developments in the Mullumbimby industrial estate that are purpose built for specialty food value-adding companies.
New look for Crystal Castle
Left to right: Naren King, owner and manager of Crystal Castle, with myself and Wroth Wall, acting as witnesses for Guinness World Records. We are standing in front of the world’s largest amethyst geode cave while certified surveyors take measurements behind us.
The Crystal Castle is one of Byron Shire’s most spectacular and successful tourist destinations. It is an iconic venue that has been building and expanding over the last 30 years. Recently, Naren King the owner travelled to Uruguay and bought back seven containers of new crystals. The jewel in the crown is the 20.1 ton amethyst geode cave. The inside is big enough for a half dozen adults to get in or the size of a medium sedan car. The venue has been upgrading many new activities, places of interest and their café. Well worth a visit if you have not been there for a while.
No Interest Rate Change
The RBA will not drop the interest rate again for July. The global uncertainties round Brexit and our own local election quandary, as well as higher inflation figures, suggest a rate cut is unlikely. Some commentators are predicting another cut, to 1.5%, in August.