Displaying items by tag: Byron Shire Council

News Around the Traps

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Are You Living in a Heritage Home?

Many people in the shire do not know they may be living in a heritage-listed property. All of Bangalow and Mullumbimby central is a heritage area. In  Mullum, if you live west of the railway line, south or east of the river, or north of Saltwater Creek, your house may have restrictions or even a full conservation order on it.

Bangalow residents are more aware of the town’s heritage listing as most residents are obviously committed to maintaining it’s rustic charm. This is ironic as in the early 70’s, the shire council wanted to eradicate all the overhead verandas throughout the shire as they were dangerous and kept in bad repair. At the time Bangalow was so broke it could not afford to remove them so just refused to do it. That’s the only reason why Bangalow was lucky enough to maintain the charming pioneer style residents and tourists appreciate so much today.

Byron Shire Council is offering a “Free Heritage Advice” session on 18 August. If you have any questions or want to understand more about your property, contact Noreen Scott on 6626 7062 and make an appointment.

Masterplan Progress

Look out for the pop-up chat rooms in Byron, Mullum or Bangalow. Each of these towns are at different stages of a masterplan development and council is giving an overview and asking for community feedback. Please don’t be one of these annoying people who do not participate when community consultation is offered and then have nothing but bile when the proposals are presented.

Farming Out The Farm

The good people at The Farm are currently under pressure. It may be they have been too successful for some neighbours and competing businesses. As you can see from the car park driving by it is almost always full. They wish to enable the restaurant Three Blue Ducks, plus Flowers at The Farm, The Produce Store, Farm Kids and Farm Tours and all the organic food growing to continue to operate as they do currently.

They are asking for people to write to council to support their DA. Address it to Byron Shire Council, PO Box 219, Mullumbimby, NSW 2482 and tell them why you appreciate all the work The Farm is doing. Especially the community and charity work. Or write an email and send it to community at thefarmbyronbay.com.au.

Brunswick Fish Co-op

There is some controversy around with whats going to happen to the Brunswick Fish Co-op. The police has been shut down unexpectedly and staff have been let go. Maybe it could be handled better but this building and business could probably do with a makeover. Many of the old fish co-ops up and down the coast of been reinvented and they often turn out to be excellent establishments - still catering to a mum and dad fish and chip shop, while still providing a full compliment of restaurants and shops. Lets hope they do it well in the end.

Sustainable House Day

Applications are now open for the annual Sustainable House Day Expo. These are very popular events and highlight our local area’s creativity and expertise in sustainable house building and design. This year it will be held in Tweed Heads on September 16. If you want to enter a design or concept you can find the application form google it at sustainablehousedaynr. Or just turn up and see for yourself.

Discussions on Alternative Housing Options

Thursday 10th of August at the Brunswick Picture House there will be a discussion on all of the shire's alternative housing projects. It is being put on by the Green Institute which is a national progressive think tank promoting community cohesion. It is $20 at the door which will include a meat or veto meal, drinks will be available, but bring your own alcohol. Tickets at the door. 

Then on Wednesday 16th of August there will be the second meeting for Social Habitat Housing. This is for the people interested in becoming residents at the proposed Tiny House/Land Lease Community starting in Mullumbimby. It will be at the Mullumbimby RSL 5 - 6.30 PM. For more information on this, go to the website at shh.socialhabitat.com.au. 

Heritage Train to Start

The 2 km train trip from Elements Resort to Byron CBD is progressing and will be up and running by December. The Byron Bay Railroad Company, and Elements of Byron, is owned and operated by coal baron Brian Flannery of White Energy. When the project began it was to be a heritage, two carriage diesel train but has now converted to solar power and is the first solar powered train in the world. There are solar trains in India but they only power the lights and fans.

Mr Flannery is not the only coal baron putting an eco gloss on their activity in the shire. In a valley near Federal, the ex co-owner of Whitehaven Coal (remember the Nathan Tinkler debacle), has been attempting to recreate the big scrub by regenerating over 600 acres of degraded grazing land. 

How They Do It In China

Resident action groups in Byron Shire are often active and successful in protecting the shire from rampant development. They should consider the plight of Chinese homeowners, residents and community groups opposing plans for new works. Lack of democracy in China certainly makes it easier for local government to get things done as this example shows.

The city of Chongqing, which has a population of 8.2 million, recently installed a two-lane road running across the rooftop of a five-storey, mixed-use building. But if you thought that might be noisy, spare a thought for the residents of another building, which has a light railway running through its 6th-8th floors – pictured here.

 Byron Bay Writers Festival

The BBWF starts is on this weekend and for anyone who has not participated you are missing out. It is the biggest and best literary festival in regional Australia and well worth the time and effort. Get lost in good conversation and interesting discussions. Kids day is on Sunday and they love it. Google the website and get a ticket.

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Brunswick Eco Village

Image: To place the site, the two roundabouts in the attached map are the roundabouts at the Mullum/Bruns Pacific Highway exit.

The Bruns Eco Village (BEV) crew had two open information days during August. A few people asked me my opinion so thought it best to do a whole blog on it. Lots of people turned up, standing room only, so it is certainly creating a bit of interest. This shows there is a lot of demand for alternative ways to live and cohabit in this area. This one is a bit different and has its pros … and cons.

1. The Idea

BEV wants to rezone approx. 105 acres of rural land into “Mixed Use”. These uses will include: medium density residential, market gardens, schools, healing centre and more. The land is on Saddle Road just outside of Brunswick Heads. The existing zoning of this land under the old LEP 1D (Under Investigation), which means it had the potential to be rezoned at some time in the future. 

The plan is to provide permanent housing for the selected residents and an affordable rent with a strong, viable community. It also wants investors to invest in the various business activities associated with the community. It is structured to eliminate any property speculation and keep the focus on community building. In line with that they want to structure it under CLT - Community Land Trust, which is more common OS than here in Oz.

2. The Deal

Anyone wanting to participate will have to participate in a Village Development Program, which will cost $1000. Once you have completed this (5 weekends during the year), you are eligible to become a resident if you so choose. It will be a selection process and you cannot be selected unless you have done the course, which will provide the ground rules for community living.

There are three kinds of participants:

-       Residents who pay a refundable bond and then pay rent

-       Resident/investors who pay the bond and the rent as well as being an investor in the BEV business venture

-       Investors who invest in the business but are not a residents

The refundable bond amount is at least $60,000 bond and you still pay rent. For example, a 2-bedroom unit will cost a redeemable bond of $70,000 and you pay $384 per week in rent plus a smaller monthly amount for management and maintenance. If you leave or die you get the bond back but no interest on it.

3. The Team

The main dude is Kelvin Daly who owns the land. He has been an organic/biodynamic farmer and a history in alternative building practices and affordable house design. Mullum solicitor Wroth Wall is doing the legalese with planner Rob Doolan doing the DA. Shane Sylvanspring is an ex-planner and a member of the Global Eco Village Network and is running the Village Development Program. David Jacobson is an architect with considerable experience communal living and sustainable housing.

It’s a very strong team with lots of experience in their chosen fields.

4. The Schedule

The Village Development Program will take a year. Applications to council will add another 18 months at least. Building will probably start sometime after that and be completed in stages. Therefore it is a long-term venture for anyone planning to be residents.

5. Conclusion

In Byron everyone has an opinion. There are also any number of people who will oppose anything. With this one the “Saddle Ridge Community Action Group” has popped up and they do make some fair points. Things like a difficult Geotech report, Aboriginal heritage, and soil toxicity. To me - not enough to knock it back. They have a Facebook page which you can see if interested, go FB and search for "Bruns Eco Village Sceptics". 

The main criticism I have is the developers are not doing any favours to the residents in terms of equity split. I understand and am supportive of people doing any venture, especially a risky one, for them to cover costs and make a profit. Even though I believe Mr Daly to have his heart in the right place - he is covering himself financially. They have valued the land and existing farmhouse at $8M, which they say is already heavily discounted. This would have to be the valuation after the rezoning and not at today’s prices. They have not factored in that the residents and investors are assisting in the rezoning.

The project's main asset - not encouraging speculation - is also its main drawback – the residents walk away with no financial advantage at the end of the day. It will suit two types of people: those already with assets like a property and who would prefer to live here for community aspect, and people who have forgone any chance of future home ownership and happy to sub lease with no desire for future capital gain.

In the early 2000s, Byron Shire Council proposed an eco village rezoning plan across the shire in a number of locations. It was killed off by a strong NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) backlash. I thought at that time that the proposal was good and was sad to see it is buried. I don’t think this one is perfect but if anywhere can do some more adventurous planning it should be here in Byron Shire. Otherwise we are left with more “brick and tile” developments like Tallowood Estate and West Byron. Bring it on, even if it’s not perfect. 

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