Mayor Simon Richardson has recognised that the affordable housing problem is an ongoing crisis in this shire. It is a nutty problem that is not easily remedied. The mayor has called for any interested parties to come forward and offer some solutions.
Over the years Byron Shire Council has sold off many of its assets to fund a budget shortfall. It is now generally acknowledged that this may have not been the wisest approach - considering the stellar performance of property prices over the recent years. In hindsight, we may have been better served retaining these assets and budgeting in other areas.
As well as calling on input from the wider community on affordable housing, council is developing a Private Public Partnership policy. Many capable and experienced people already reside in our region and council is hoping to engage with outside individuals and groups to assist in solving this problem. Other shire councils have had a PPP’s so the BSC is now inititating its own policy guidelines.
Council still has a number of land parcels still in its possession. Also, some privately owned land parcels may have suitable zonings and DCP for some of these models which may be already allowed. Council now wishes to work with people submitting ideas and partnership models as well as landholders and professionals who would like to contribute to this issue. Council is also asking for input into its Draft Rural Settlement Strategy.
Social Habitat Housing (SHH) is a registered Not For Profit company that will be presenting a proposal. I, Michael Murray, am a director, as well as Malcolm Price, a local social planner and designer, and Michael Dowling, who has extensive experience in real estate finance and property management.
SHH would like to work with council in developing a "Tiny House Eco-village" on suitable valuable land. The idea is a hybrid using the existing “Manufactured Home, Caravan Park, Retirement Village” model. This model already has been in existence for many decades and we are suggesting it be available for urban leasehold. Using this model, Byron Council will be able to derive a reasonable income while retaining ownership of the original asset.
This is not a social housing model. Potential residents will still need to have sufficient funds to build a small home and pay a rental land lease. But the economics will be within the established affordable housing definition: 30-35% of a basic wage or pension.
More information is available on the website: https://shh.socialhabitat.com.au. Anyone interested in being involved or hearing more about this project, please go to the website and register your name and contact info. You will then be informed of a public meeting time to be held shortly where more information will be made available.