Byron Shire Council (BSC) selling off the Telstra site in Mullumbimby by public auction to the highest bidder should be ringing alarm bells for those who care about the future of Mullumbimby.
Yes, BSC needs some cash as always but have the BSC bureaucrats and councillors really thought about the ramifications?
The Telstra site on Station Street is a pivotal site in Mullumbimby town planning wise. It sits in the rail corridor between Woolworths and the old station master’s cottage adjacent to our ‘welcome to Mullum CBD’ roundabout.
It has huge potential as ‘a gateway to Mullumbimby’ site, especially in time when hopefully the cottage site could be purchased from State Rail.
The site needs to be owned by our community for community use not by the 15th largest retailer in the world.
Some vision is required and at least BSC could give the local community a chance to be creative, finding a way to use this site that will be more in keeping with the town’s character.
Otherwise we will be looking at a Woolies petrol station/drive in liquor outlet/pharmacy or bank (the latest expansionist direction being pursued by the duopoly).
BSC is offering a cheap and fabulously easy opportunity for Woolworths to expand at the expense of the character and long term sustainability of Mullumbimby.
For once this an opportunity to make a critical strategic planning decision at a local level in which BSC cannot be over-ruled by the NSW government.
I am amazed that our councillors have opted to support a sale by a public auction rather than a sale by tender in which some criteria could have been included giving preference to local community bids.
Hopefully, councillors will be able to rethink how the sale can be made: one which brings in cash for Council and provides opportunities for Mullumbimby to grow and thrive in the spirit of the Shire.
Judy MacDonald, The Pocket