Behind all the bluff and bluster of Byron Bay there are many good things going on as well. We have a lot of passionate community members here that love to share their feelings and debate the issues. Sometimes it can look like we are in meltdown or dysfunction but lets be very Byron New Age and look on the bright, positive side as well.
The Byron Bay bypass will start construction soon, which will mean less waiting in traffic on Ewingsdale Road. The Rail Trail keeps on rolling along, gathering steam and the funding it needs to keep progressing along the bureaucratic track. The Essence of Byron (Formerly North Beach) will be introducing their commuter train from Bayshore Drive, which will be interesting. The new highway will be done before we know it, as well as the new hospital at Ewingsdale.
Dual occupancy for rural residential properties is probably going to be accepted by council. This is one easy way to deliver more housing for people without demands on infrastructure or green field development. At the same time, there are plans afoot to finally do something about affordable Byron Bay real estate. I know this has been talked about and talked about ad nauseam, but there are a few people involved with an idea that has some potential to work and I will try giving more info on this in the next newsletter.
The Byron Bay Town Centre Master Plan is in progress with McGregor Coxall. I have attended some sessions on this and many of the proposals look interesting and worthwhile. Anyone who says there has not been enough community consultation on this topic needs to come out from underneath his or her rock. The Creative Mullumbimby crew have been successful in crowd sourcing the $20,000 needed to start their sculpture walk.
There are other controversial proposals causing lots of heat. The Belongil rock wall issue is certainly one of those. I was originally a proponent of the Planned Retreat policy since tidal erosion is a fact even without being compounded by global warming. I am now an advocate of some form of defence even if it is only short term. Delaying is slightly better than surrender. Those that say that council is spending ratepayers money to protect the property of rich folk are wrong as the rocks are mainly protecting council property and roads. Yes the rich folk have an indirect benefit. The rocks were there cheaply from the highway works so it was an easy fit.
The West Byron Bay real estate development is another hot issue. Over the years I have seen numerous cases like this go through where we just end up with the worst outcome possible, mainly due to opposing camps taking an adversarial position from the start and not being able to compromise. West Byron was zoned for development decades ago. The owners used to be mainly long term locals but got fed up or went broke and it’s now owned by an out of town consortium who will go for maximum yield. The opponents went in hard and fast early and I believe made many exaggerations and false claims. We now will get another brick and tile, bland development instead of something that could have added to the Byron style and culture.
For those interested in finding out more about this fabulous place where we live, here is something that you will enjoy. This website (profile.id.com.au/Byron) takes all the info provided by the national census and other economic and social research data and loads into one usable format. This is a great boon for businesses and curious people wanting to get factual info about what goes on in the Byron Bay real estate market and community. The interesting aside is that clever boffins who put this together actually live and work in Byron and provide this service to all local councils around Australia. Even though it was a local company, Byron Shire was the 142nd LGA to get on board because they were too slow and only recently were able to afford it. Kind of says it all in a way.