Brunswick Eco Village
Many of you are aware of the Brunswick Eco Village project on Saddle Road near Brunswick Heads. Kelvin Daly and his family have purchased a large 100-acre rural property and want to turn it into an affordable housing eco village with around 130 homes and including a market garden, school and healing centre. Obviously there is the usual amount of resistance and opposition to it but my reading of the situation is that it should be supported.
One thing they are doing that is absolutely right is having all the potential shareholders participate in a training program before taking up their share and residency. Anyone with any experience in MOs, CTs or intentional communities knows that is usually the interpersonal dynamics that cause these things to turn sour. Anyone interested in participating in the next round of the “Village Development Program” should go to the website – brunsecovillage.com.au and look for the VDP page. It will be a week-long course in early February 18. It is for anyone looking at thinking about, improving, or planning life on an intentional community.
Flood Wash Up
There is a bit discussion going around about the intensity of the recent flood. There is strong evidence to suggest that the damage was increased in Ocean Shores and South Golden Beach due to development blocking a number of secondary run offs to the sea from Marshall Creek. Old time locals say the same problem also occurs at Tyagarah Road (the turf farm) and Myocum areas because a steady downpour cannot escape under the highway from west to east. Not enough conduits were built and the ones we have often get blocked up by sediment. Hummm!
The NSW state government has begun an Options Paper on regulating holiday letting. At present, these options are only for Sydney as the belief is that regional areas are not under the same pressures. Byron Shire however is under the same demands as the city and Byron Shire Council is about to introduce its own policy. This will be only allowing HL to properties with three or less bedrooms able to let for 90 days or less. Anyone else will be required to get a DA. Anyone with an approved DA that gets a neighbourhood complaint three times will have their DA revoked. Popular tourist destinations in Europe like Barcelona and Berlin have introduced strong legislation and are fining and prosecuting illegal HLs.
It is ironic that market forces has now stopped further growth of the Holiday Letting problem. Investors are no longer seeing an opportunity in Byron Bay or Brunswick Heads houses to convert to Holiday Letting as the yield is no longer there. The prices required to purchase and furnish a quality property is not sustainable. This does not really help locals wanting to rent as the permanent rental rate is out of reach of most people.
Government Property Policy Changes
The state coalition government has made some cosmetic changes to assist first homebuyers. Stamp duty will be eliminated for first homebuyers with properties under $650,000. To counter the loss of income, foreign buyers will have their stamp duty increased from 4% to 8%. It will also eliminate stamp duty on Loan Mortgage Insurance. The number of properties under $650,000 in postcodes 2479-2483 are very thin on the ground so will make little difference here. Most people in the know (like respected former RBA governor Glenn Stevens) scoff at these changes and think it is only tinkering. Equally the Federal Government’s idea of allowing first home buyers to access their superannuation for a deposit is viewed as cheap window dressing made from nylon material from a Spotlight sale.
News of Downturn
Sydney and Melbourne prices have come off and some pundits are predicting a downturn. Will that affect property prices here in NR? Good question and no one has a crystal ball. We usually trend a year or 18 months after Sydney and Melbourne prices so we won’t be affected immediately. Also Sydney and Melbourne needed a downturn; over the last five years, Sydney house prices have increased a massive 75% and Melbourne 55%. A slight coming-off of prices would be good and stop people talking about the dreaded “bubble” word.
Nudism in the Bay
A new retreat has started in Byron Bay catering to the naturist community. Somewhere in Tyagarah as it keeps its exact location non public. It is already attracting “Clothes Optional” clientele from all over the world. Byron Bay has a long tradition of supporting clothes optional options. Currently there are nude beaches at the north end of Belongil, Kings Beach at Broken Head, and Tyagarah Beach at the end of Grays Lane. Even Main Beach is very European with torsos of both genders on view. In the late nineties many of us attended a massive protest au naturel, to stop the fun police from shutting down our nude beaches and we won. However it is not all sunshine and light. Unfortunately, Tyagarah Beach and has been taken over by an unsavoury crowd and many people no longer go there. The nearby Tea Tree Lake is also a strong gay beat and not a fit place for your average punter. I don’t know of how to solve this problem but bringing awareness to the situation may help. It’s unfortunate that the healthy pursuit of spending time outdoors with no clothes on is often accompanied by poor souls suffering from the ill effects of repression and negative social conditioning about the human body