Electric Kool-Aid Kombi Test
Byron local Alex Bosin is doing the transition to electric vehicles Byron style. Being an ex-airline engineer for Lufthansa, he has converted his beloved Kombi to be fully electric. Besides enjoying the ride himself he also hires the vehicles out to wedding parties and tourists. in signs of a Byron-led Kombi revival, we now have Kombis for tours, sightseeing, camping, weddings and other events
What a disastrous summer it has been. The Commonwealth and NSW Governments have announced disaster assistance for 56 local government areas, including Byron Shire. This means Council will receive financial help in covering the cost of responding to the weather emergency as well as repairing damaged infrastructure such as roads. Assistance may also be available to people and businesses. Residents will be able to take flood-affected waste (carpets, furniture, white goods, etc) to the Manse Road Recycling Centre free of charge.
FHOG Scheme is busy
There’s been a rush of applicants from first home buyers seeking to secure a spot to buy with a deposit of as little as 5 percent under the new Federal Government home loan deposit guarantee scheme. The scheme, known officially as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS), will be available only to First Home Buyers with an annual income of up to $125,000 or couples with a combined $200,000 per year who haven’t saved the standard 20 percent deposit.
Homes for Koalas
A koala field day will be held on March 11th in Mullumbimby. Any landowner wanting to help our furry friends by planting the correct eucalypts for koalas to munch on can attend this event. Numbers are limited so you have to buy tickets here and pay $5 to cover catering costs. This is a Byron Council and Brunswick Valley Landcare sponsored event.
Celebrity Plant a Tree Day
Maybe they should start shooting episodes of the TV show Neighbours in Byron. In the Hot Property section, we bring you the story of Natalie Bassingthwaighte, former Neighbours star and X Factor judge, moving here. Another Neighbours cast member, Byron resident Madeleine West, a.k.a. ‘Dee Bliss’ in the popular long-running series, has embraced the importance of tree planting Australia wide. She wants to create community projects for people seeking asylum and give back to bush fire crisis communities. You can help by attending the weekend’s planting on Sunday, March 8, from 10 am to midday at Cromwell Farms, 191 Sheaffes Road, Goonengerry. For information on donating $10 a tree or the next tree plant visit: www.rainforest4.org. To find out more about HelpHomeHeal, visit Instagram
Eat the Street in Lismore
It is not all about Byron. So much to do in the hinterland as well. March 14 is the fabulous Eat The Street Festival in Magellan Street, Lismore. From midday till 9 PM you can get fed and entertained by streets full of street dining and events.
When 18-year old local Lily Harrison got her period, she embarked on a mission to help vulnerable women be more comfortable during menstruation. She started thinking how much more uncomfortable menstruation could be for the vulnerable or homeless. Lily was shocked to discover that the rate of homelessness in Byron Shire is two times the national average. Instead of keeping that as a problem, Lily decided to help solve it. She started making Period Packs in her bedroom to give away to women in need. The scheme now operates across the Northern Rivers, with volunteers meeting in CWA halls to put together period packs for free distribution. Get more involved here.
Local Boy Needs Help
Julian Assange grew up in the Northern Rivers. He lived in North Lismore with his puppeteering parents and went to Goolmangar Primary School from 1979 – 1983. He has now found himself in a whole lot of trouble and needs some help. A groundswell of support has grown across political party lines and the word needs to get out that it is not fair or appropriate that someone is punished so severely for doing what is basically journalism.
During last Thursday’s council meeting, a majority of councilors voted to show support on this issue. This is good but I also agree with Councillor Alan Hunter, the only one to object. His main point is that this issue is not in the mandate of a local council. This will be a growing problem in the future. LGAs should only concentrate the three Rs – Roads, Rates and Rubbish. However, with both state and federal governments abdicating their responsibility around big issues such as climate resilience, affordable housing and homelessness, local government should not be discouraged from voicing support where it sees necessary.
Council Ups And Downs (General Rants)
One area where Council needs our support is to stop the push by the State Government to implement what’s called the ‘Low Rise Medium Density Code’. The code would permit compliant development anywhere in the state if it meets fairly low standards. The DA process in NSW planning is completely dysfunctional, so this policy is probably OK for cities and most built-up areas. But for Byron Shire, it could be terrible. The policy has the potential to change the look and feel of Byron forever. We should forget the quixotic and destructive scheme to kill off the Short Term Holiday Let industry – see the separate article in this issue – and head to the barricades on this one.
Good News, Bad News
The good news is that the State Government has decided to fund Byron Council $25M to help manage the impacts of tourism. This is sorely needed and well deserved, as Byron Bay is a major destination for both local and international tourists. I have heard that the recognition factor for tourists arriving in Oz goes: #1 Opera House/Sydney Harbour, #2 Barrier Reef, #3 Uluru, #4 Byron Bay. Go here to see where the funds will be allocated and what roads will be fixed. The bad news is that the delay in building the Byron bypass has cost Council $1.4M. This is a serious wad of cash which instead of being spent on other road projects, has yet again ended up in the pockets of lawyers.
Geoffrey Bawa Architecture Tour – Free Talk
Byron residents, and anyone on this mailing list, are invited to attend a talk I am giving tomorrow night. As you may know (as I am seriously guilty of cross-promotion) I lead the occasional small group tour to my adopted second country, Sri Lanka. Over the many years I have been going, I always try to visit a creation of my favourite architect – Geffrey Bawa. He is considered the originator of Tropical Modernism – a style that has been warmly embraced by homemakers and architects in Byron and the whole east coast of Oz. With this in mind, I have now put together a tour that will visit all the stand-out buildings and places of importance to Bawa and his work. The talk is the T2 Conference room at Habitat, Bayshore Drive, Byron 5.30 – 7, the tour will be in June. People who wish to stay on can then eat together at the fabulous Barrio – now that it is back after the fire. More info here. BTW – if the C-virus is still a problem in June, we will reschedule another time. You can find out more info about the Bawa tour here.