Byron Hospital site
Jury may be still out on whether the Mullumbimby hospital site is worth a dollar. But the Byron Bay Hospital may have an interesting future and will certainly be worth more than a dollar. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard was recently in town and discussed the future of the very valuable site with local stakeholders. The site was destined for sale in order to recoup some of the $22 million spent on the new Ewingsdale hospital. The new plan is to combine some commercial aspects of the land while still delivering some social benefits like a homeless shelter and community support infrastructure. The lobbying team include local National party upper house member Ben Franklin, Mayor Simon Richardson, First National REA principal Chris Hanley. Lets hope they can work something out. The state minister was apparently very impressed by the presentation of the local team.
A solutions panel, or ‘citizen jury’, is being introduced and many of the councillors want it to change the way democracy is done in Byron. Arguing that, “It will create a new balance between experts and the public and give councillors confidence that public judgment (rather than opinion) contributes to better decision-making”. The idea is for 28 randomly selected volunteers to listen to an expert panel give an overview and then decide on some of the important infrastructure decisions. The idea has been used in the past with some success, notably in Melbourne, where this process has been used to spend over $400m in 10 years.
The other innovation coming out of the Mullum Tucker Box is the idea of Big Idea Sessions. The big idea is to reach out our entrepreneurial locals and come up with moneymaking ideas that can benefit council coffers. This is part of a bigger Private Public Partnership concept council is working on. Anyone with an idea or wanting to throw an idea in the mix – here is your chance:
Brunswick Picture House Thursday 8 March 2018, 6.00 – 8.30pm
Mullumbimby Civic Hall Friday 9 March 2018, 10am – 12.30pm
Byron Bay Community Centre Friday 9 March 2018, 2.00 – 4.30pm
Council does win occasionally
Finally, after all the incremental tiny steps forward with affordable housing options, one looks like it will actually see the light of day. In a unanimous decision, the block of land south of Byron Council car park and the pre- school on Station Street Mullumbimby is to be developed into 25 one-bedroom units. Six of the units will be managed by North Coast Community Housing at 80% of normal market rent. The sale of the land will go into thirsty council coffers. Lets hope this is a successful outcome and BSC can find its feet with PPP (Private Public Partnerships). Ballina Shire has been working over decades developing land and working with landholders and has built up a healthy portfolio of properties that provide income and social benefits.
Anyone who has not yet looked into sourcing electricity from Enova should think about it. It is a local success story and a template being copied by other communities. This is a way to get away from the big power monopolies that are part of national energy problem. Enova currently have around 4000 subscribers but need around 6000 be in profit and then be a real force for change. Get in board! https://enovaenergy.com.au
Who wants to come to Sri Lanka?
Apparently the new hip thing is to have is a ‘Side Hustle’. A Side Hustle is something that you do outside of your main job that is an interest or passion, which can earn a little money, but is not your main gig. So keeping up with the times I now have my own side hustle and it is leading tours to my second home and first favourite travel destination – Sri Lanka
I first went to the teardrop island in 1983 and since 2002 have been going back at least once a year. When I come back I hear lots of people tell me they always wanted to go and I find myself saying, “I’d love to take you”. Last year I went and did a tour of my favourite places and what and where I would like to show people who want to experience The Very Best of Sri Lanka in one trip. Have a look at the website and see if you would be interested. We are holding a travel info nite at the William Street Bar and Grill in Lennox Head on Thursday 12th of April. There will be guest speakers and travel writers.