Coping with COVID
Byron has been lucky. As of last week, we only have had 16 confirmed cases of COVID, 55 in all of Northern NSW. It could have been a lot worse here with all the international travelers passing through. And it was easy to see the campervan clusters popping up in places. Then we have those who are “accommodation challenged”. Byron has more than its fair share of the homeless and rough sleepers. Many people were being casual with no social distancing. Then we have those who think its all a hoax or the restrictions are an overreaction. We are lucky we didn’t become a hotspot.
Rail Trail or Light Rail?
Glad to see last month’s article about the future of our disused rail line provoked some comments. It got talked about but still see no solution in sight. It will not be funny if the Rail Trail finishes at Byron Shire borders.
I am even keener on the Rail Trail since I took an E-Bike tour during the month. I would love to leave the diesel guzzler in the garage and venture out on an E-Bike along the Rail Trail to do my usual “Around the Traps”. You can have your own test ride of an E-Bike at Beyond Byron E-Bike Tours. This is such a great way to get around.
Regular readers will know that BPS is a long time supporter of maintaining rural land and expanding bush habitat. For some years, the council has been encouraging landowners and farmers to get together to join up the remaining remnants of the big scrub. This will allow the movement and migration of native wildlife to create a healthier ecosystem. Council is offering help to people who are interested in working on this here.
South Byron Make Over
Saving rural areas and wildlife habitat has a bit to do with this story as well. Approval was just given for a major new development at the south end of Jonson Street (Corner of Browning). The $20 mil mixed-use project includes retail, restaurants, and units. There was a push back from some councilors as the plans exceeded the height limit. The south end of Jonson Street at the Mitre 10 corner is going to see a transformation with the completion of the bypass. It is reasonable to accept higher density here as the CBD needs to expand and people should live in the centre of town. It seems the community has a preference for infill development for towns and villages over more greenfield brick and tile developments like West Byron.
Help for First Home Buyers and Construction Industry
Watch out for more public money being ready to support the construction industry. Grants of up to $25,000 will be made to people wanting to build new homes. There will also be some cash for people wanting to do larger renovations. It is an effort to support Tradies.
First Home Owner grants are also still available for new homes under $750,000. These grants can be complicated and you may need some experienced advice. The Home Buyer Academy was established by 2 of Australia’s most experienced buyers’ agents – Veronica Morgan and Meighan Hetherington. The mission is to provide affordable, reliable guidance to first home buyers. Each week the focus is on a different topic. This is a free event on Facebook, Wednesday nights 5.30 – 6.30.
Bums on Seats
Creative Mullum has also been involved in the Gateway Project corner of Mullumbimby and Gulgan Road. The upgraded rotunda and peace pole opposite Uncle Tom’s has been a long process over a few years and will be complete soon. Thank you to artist and filmmaker Richard Mordaunt for leading the project, and Borat Mitra from Uplift Festival for donating the new nature and peace pole, and also local state member Ben Franklin for finding some slush money for it.
Tour Sri Lanka Virtually
BPS has a side hustle that is leading small group tours to the beautiful island of Sri Lanka. All the 2020 tours have obviously now been postponed. But don’t despair, the tour that was scheduled to start June 4 is now going virtual. This trip had the theme of focusing on famed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa. You can view the video and ask to join the Zoom Q and A here.