There is no doubt that there is a housing crisis in Byron Shire, particularly Byron Bay. The recent Anglicare snapshot of housing affordability found that there were no affordable rentals in Byron Bay. So what should be done?
For a start it is important to recognise that so many of the dwellings that have been approved by the council over many years are not available for permanent living by those who deserve to be able to live in the shire. The large number of homes being used for tourism purposes is a wrongful use of these premises. At last count it was above 600 homes, which could equate to 1500 or 2000 people who are deprived from accessing Byron Shire homes.
The shock that the holiday let precincts proposed by council would deliver, by turning more housing over to tourism, might fulfill the often quoted media message that ‘Byron resort town’ is no longer a community. Some might think that there is a lack of focus on residents’ rights and that tourism will ‘own’ Byron Shire’s best areas and residents need not apply. I am shocked and saddened.
Jan Barham, Broken Head