There were three important items in recent Echos. Last week Scott Allen showcased his affordable Smartflat, Jim Beatson of the Byron Shire Council’s Tourism Advisory Committee opined that ‘increasing tourism only adds to its drain on Council resources’ and the week before the Planning Minister Brad Hazzard indicated that ‘local councils will be allowed to approve amending and site specific Local Environmental Plans (LEPs) including spot rezonings’.
Put that all together, add the perennial problems of the lack of affordable housing, the costs of tourism and lack of council funds and what do you get? A solution.
Rather than cater for more tourists who don’t build houses, pay rates or have a long-term commitment to this area, we should be catering to people who are, or want to become, residents.
So let’s make it easy for existing rural residents to put up Smartflats and other innovative low cost abodes for renting only that don’t have to be attached to the main house.
Attached granny flats may be great for Sydney with 375 people per square kilometre but we’ve got less than 50 and most people come here to have a bit of space. Let ’em have it.
Create a low-cost building boom that employs plumbers and painters, electricians and road makers and provides new residents to buy furniture and food and have a cuppa.
It would strengthen our villages, inject money into our economy, provide affordable rural accommodation for the unrich and give the council a revenue stream.
So let’s take Brad Hazzard at his word and amend our LEP to make it possible.
Derek Harper, Yelgun