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Byron Shire
April 17, 2021

Byron no longer a community

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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

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  1. Regarding Jan Barhnam’s letter above, I would have to say that it is as neat a piece of obsfucation as I have read in many a year. The Holiday Let situation in Byron has little to do with ” affordable housing ” ( what, actually, is this anyway ? ), the main culprit being that Byron Bay is at least 30yrs behind in its’ obligations under the North Coast Regional Plan guidelines. The various Byron Councils ( in particular the Council headed by Barhnam ) have never even attempted to meet their obligations under those guidelines. Thus there is a monumental housing shortage. Cheap rents will never happen in Byron Bay again & I wouldn’t like to see it happen. I like it that the Council is completely incompetent in solving the traffic issues. I like it that the Council is completely incompetent in solving the land availability issues. In short, the Green Councils are the Councils of Zen & I will vote for the Greens in every Local Govt. election ( as distinct from State or Federal ) because I like the town small & I believe that it is currently choking off it’s growth & I think that is a good thing. Who wants Urban sprawl or High Rise ? But acknowledge that in preventing those solutions you are also preventing cheap rents. So what ! There are plenty of other areas of the shire for the less well endowed to live but I doubt that Council will act to enable development in those areas either. The Brunswick Squash Court saga a few years back ( again, under Barhnams’ watch ) is evidence of that. This is an incompetent Council in all of the right ways. You beauty.

  2. Byron Shire is exceeding its targets for dwellings – just none available for renters at reasonable prices. Under Regional Strategy Byron Shire is required to supply 104 dwellings per annum. Over the past 8 years since 2006 Byron Shire has approved 190 dwellings per year. The total of 1,523 approved dwellings is 14.5 years of projected growth. We’ve done it in 8 years.
    See this recent study by the Dept of Planning:


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