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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Old people make quiet neighbours

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I have tried to understand the reasoning behind those in the Ewingsdale community who do not want anything to change but I am lost as to why a village planned to house our senior citizens is threatening to their present lifestyle.

Many in this shire have ageing parents who they have had to house at the Tweed or Ballina because of the dire shortage of suitable accommodation for them. Many of those protesting must also have ageing parents. Surely you would like to have them close to you and in a safe place where they can be independent – or not – according to their changing health needs.

How can this proposed seniors village be deemed to be destroying the gateway to our town when the first thing you see is the massive holding tanks for the cement works, a huge electricity depot, a cheese factory tourist farm, ambulance station and soon a major regional hospital, all bordered by the Pacific Highway? I think it would be drawing a long bow to say this proposal will destroy the gateway to our town.

As for adding to the traffic chaos: are you seriously saying that a couple of hundred senior citizens, most of whom will be using public transport, probably their own shuttle buses, can possibly be blamed for adding to the traffic already generated by 1.5M tourists that create some 28,000 traffic movements a week?

I am not sure if Ewingsdale residents realise how much traffic noise from this road will be reduced by adding building structures and buffer zones between them. The value of your homes will increase; less traffic noise and quiet neighbours.

Even though I voted on Thursday for an extension of time to allow further consultation, I am yet to be convinced that this is not a superb site for our seniors. This village will provide an affordable/achievable, indeed desirable place for them to live. I hope the community will now come together to work in harmony combining our independent skills to get the best outcome for all.

Cr Rose Wanchap, Byron Bay

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  1. I’m not sure what’s so hard to understand. Would anyone choose to live next to high density housing as opposed to baby cows, heritage houses and green fields.

    The people who moved here checked out the LEP prior and it was zoned rural. No one thought that council would suddenly become more interested in development than retaining the rural aspect of Byron.

    When we talk about the entrance, we aren’t talking about the eyesores already in place, we are talking about the pastoral land on the way in, that makes you feel as though you are still entering a country town, not a metropolis.

    Where aged care is located is an issue for the Growth Management Strategy to address, and if it came back to say that this is the only possible site then that would be another matter. But what is the harm in waiting to see the outcome.

    The notion of “seniors” is also complex. Over 55s isn’t really seniors and the vast majority of Ewingsdale’s population is older than the rest of the population of Byron, yet they are still against it, not just young people. Two of the speakers at council would be considered seniors and most of our Community Association would be made up of people over 60.

    Importantly, many developers work within the allowable limits of the LEP on the land they own. This parcel of land has around 8 acres which is zoned large lot residential. The developers could still subdivide and sell this off and make quite a great deal of money, probably close to $8 million, without pushing an unpopular development on our community.

    More annoying is their deceit that they consult and care what the community needs and they are building this as a community amenity. It’s hard to believe it is anything but an excuse to push through higher densities than would be ordinarily acceptable.

  2. Dear Rose,
    Did you hear that 94% of Ewingsdale residents say No! We don’t want to make Ewingsdale built up like Nerang on the Gold Coast. Where did you get the number of 200 senior residents from? I think you are trying to downplay the whole mega-development. The concept plans look to be accommodating more like 400 over 55’s senior residents at lot 101. Rows of units and dwellings tightly built together plus 60 more residents in the nursing home with not much space to swing a cat.
    With all the hundreds of extra people in their cars attending to the seniors and adding to the Ewingsdale Road traffic chaos will just enrage the traffic gridlock situation. It’s already like playing Russian Roulette daily trying to get from Mcgettigans lane onto Ewingsdale road. The high density double storey townhouses along Mcgettigans lane are planned along a picturesque floodable natural creek. The Creek is part of Simpsons creek parallel to Mcgettigans lane flooded 3 times in 1998. You obviously were not around in those days. The plans are very ambitious profit driven for this sensitive rural ‘Regionally Significant Farmland’ area. This creek is below the heritage-listed Higgins Homestead on either side. That is why it is zoned Rural Landscape RU2 and needs to remain LEP RU2.

    I checked out the architects website http://www.jpra.com.au and they are more accustomed to designing high density developments in the City. Is that your vision for Byron Bay?

    Also you must consider the Ewingsdale Church and Hall and Ewingsdale School are heritage-listed. All this sits in the shade of a row on majestic fig trees first planted by students on Arbour Day 90 years ago. It’s on a parcel of land first gifted to the community by Thomas Ewing and I believe that a lot of respect for this area is due. Building a commercial shopping centre, and high density seniors home opposite reminds me of a song that Joni Mitchell wrote . The words go something like “Don’t it always seem to go, That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘Til it’s gone. They paved paradise And put up a parking lot. They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum, Then they charged the people a dollar and half just to see ‘em. “ Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep.
    Saying over 55’s are all quiet neighbours is insulting especially if they are like me and enjoy live music and parties, also saying the “oldies” will catch public transport is unbelievable especially considering we have a public transport shortage. Most over 55’s will still drive their own car for as long as possible. Packing them in like sardines next door to the Ewingsdale Electricity Sub station EMF and cement works as a “buffer zone to the noise of the new pacific highway” is also not desirable, I don’t believe this is going to enhance the area nor is it desirable to concrete a Rural landscape zoned LEP RU2. There are so many voices that need to be heard, everyone has an opinion. That’s what makes it a democracy. What about some respect for residents living in the area. Why are you ignoring the Regional Strategy and trying to disenfranchise the local community! Who are you representing?
    Affordable housing! Are you joking ? The median house price for Byron Bay is $845.000 and Ewingsdale is $1100,000. If the housing units are all in the private real estate sector when finished and on the market they will cost upwards of half a million dollars each and that is without Federal Government funding for any Aged care public housing. Saying that it will increase the value of our properties is also your opinion and very distasteful. I would prefer to live in an environment that is clean, less cars, more space for nature and happy neighbours. We just don’t want this Gold Coast style mega-development at the Gateway to Byron. And just incase you didn’t hear us 94% say No! Bring on a by-election. Resign now!

    Here are just a few places in Byron usually run by reputable organisations not developers.
    Aged care facilities with the essential AACQA accreditation.

    THE BRAND NEW RSL lifecare Aged Care 184 Broken Head Road, Suffolk Park 02 6685 3301
    Cape Byron Estate, Retirement Village, Byron Bay Cooper Street Byron Bay, NSW, 2481
    Australian Orthodox Home for the Aged 1 Butler Street, Byron Bay 02 6680 8255
    Feros Village Byron Bay Marvel and Cowper Streets, Byron Bay 02 6685 7676
    George Feros Memorial Hostel Marvell Street, Byron Bay 02 6687 2379

  3. Quiet Neighbours? Old people? Are you kidding Rose? Do you live next to an old person? We had a lovely old dear living next to us (bless her socks) for a decade and we got no sleep! Like many elderly folk she was hard of hearing and seemed to exist on only 3 hours of sleep each night. So the telly would go on at 3am at dolby-defying cinema levels. Then we’d hear her flick through 250 Foxtel channels looking for something interesting. I don’t watch TV but I can tell you pretty much everything that Demtel has been selling for the last 10 years.
    Rose, did you know that you can buy a volume control you can fit to your phone to make it ring like a fire alarm? Perfect for the hard-of-hearing so our dear neighbour bought one. Then she’d get a bit mixed up and call herself from her mobile phone. Then she’d start yelling at the home phone that she was on the other phone and couldn’t get to it. This would go on and on and on until eventually she’d fall asleep again with the TV still blaring. Once she was asleep there was no hope of waking her, so we’d get the TV for another few hours.
    Until she woke up to make breakfast. Rose, have you ever cooked with an old person? They drop pots and glasses of gin and cutlery ALL THE TIME. It’s like living next to a commercial kitchen run by people with no arms.
    After breakfast she’d give the sherry a nudge, freeing her inner opera diva. Sweet merciful Jesus, you’d get more sleep living next door to Splendour. Prepare yourselves, good folk of Ewingsdale. You’ll be praying for schoolies to arrive just so you can get some sleep.


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