It is time to speak of the turning point for Byron Bay, Byron Shire, the north coast of New South Wales, and if we are truly thinking globally while we act locally, our world. The West Byron Swamp Housing Estate.
Never mind that this is everything that is wrong. Definitively a floodland that will need to be transformed in the most unecologically sustainable ways. Strip development on a narrow transport corridor. Overloaded sewerage systems. So what? Expect it to be approved. It’s worth a couple of billion dollars, and it will open up the endgame for Byron Bay and the shire.
Remember the talk: population 25,000 for Byron Bay? This development opens the way. With the approval of this housing estate and a dual carriageway to and from the highway, the precedent and minimum infrastructure will be in place for housing estates to begin at the highway turnoff. Semi-rural areas such as McGettigans Lane will become higher density. Do not imagine for a second that a dual carriageway will reduce traffic jams. They will simply be an excuse to bring in more traffic.
A new road will be cut through the hinterland behind Byron Bay. That will open these areas to residential development. Think Ballina. This means the end of quality tourism in Byron Bay and anything alternative about the region. It is the southward expansion of the Gold Coast/southeast Queensland residential corridor. They will not stop.
No existing business will do well out of this change. It is simply the end.
You cannot avoid a power-play of this size by sitting still. Byron Shire articulated a vision years ago, but never acted. Illegal operators moved into the power vacuum and damaged legitimate business.
The way forward is the one we planned. Expanded education: to be a college town. Expanded health and lifestyle industry: to be an emerald, a green jewel in the crown. Expanded media and arts industries: build on that successful base. Reduced and refined visitor industry: eliminate illegals, promote legitimate operations. These are the goals the community has articulated. All these can be done with a reduced environmental footprint.
Do you have any fight left in you?
Matt Hartley, Byron Bay