Jack Dods, Ewingsdale
I’d like to bring to attention three developments that were approved in Bangalow last year. One an extension of Clover Hill estate on the fields behind the Bangalow Medical Centre, one an extension of Charlotte and Thomas Streets behind St Kevin’s Church, and another an addition to the estate branching off Rifle Range Rd. These are all generic subdivisions. Stock-standard, unimaginative, cul-de-sac developments that turn rolling, rural farmland into the ¼-acre ‘dream’. These developments passed without objection. Yet when the DA for 9 Station St was lodged, suddenly the curmudgeons came out of the woodwork and the complaints started rolling in.
Why the inconsistency in objections?
Byron Shire suffers a serious lack of diversity of housing stock and our housing shortage and affordability crisis won’t be resolved by building more suburbia.
I would argue that not only should the DA in Bangalow be approved but more of its type encouraged. NIMBYs in the Byron Shire seem to kick and scream whenever they see a DA with a description like ‘four storey’ as if it will usher in the construction of skyscrapers along Main Beach. More Byronians need to understand that dense, intricate, walkable designs are a good thing for our shire. They promote sustainability, community, employment and help create an attractive public realm we can be proud of.
It concerns me that no-one makes a peep about mundane developments like Tallowood Ridge which are nothing but urban sprawl. But a DA for ‘townhouses’ at 27–29 Station St, Mullumbimby, fills the papers with letters of complaint. Admittedly the design for that particular DA is horrific, but the idea of building proper terrace houses in the traditional sense should be met with praise. Brownfield developments like 9 Station St Bangalow are much less insidious and need to be encouraged. They make use of existing infrastructure while enhancing the built environment and bringing new dynamism to our towns.
Bangalow is such a beautiful place because it was founded and built on sociopetal design principals. This is why people go there, because it’s a desirable place to just be. How often do you hear someone say ‘Lets spend the afternoon in Baywood Chase’?
As a student of architecture and urban design who was born in Bangalow 23 years ago, I hope I speak for the next generation when I say that we don’t want to inherit a few cul-de-sacs from a bunch of parochial whingers, but rather a complex, living, sophisticated, well-designed, urban environment we will be proud to call our own.