Does Byron Shire Council have an excellent affordable housing strategy, perhaps one of the best? Or, is it a silly strategy that would help the wrong people continue to live here, a strategy to be ignored?
It seems some council staff think something like the latter and are passively blocking its implementation. Three examples:
1. In the year 2002 a grant was received to do a feasibility study for housing on a Council owned site. Supportive staff did most of the work on that, and it happened easily. However, the next step was deemed to be soil tests for a toxin thought to be there, and the person responsible for that took nine months. Surely it could have been done in a week? We did keep on nagging but lacked the political nous to get things moving. At that pace, housing next century. We gave up and the grant was sent back to the state government.
2. In 1998 the affordable housing committee initiated the idea of caravan parks and manufactured home estates as a practical way of providing low-income accommodation. Twelve years later at the 12 August 2010 ordinary meeting, expressions of interest from private landowners are reported and 10 out of 15 are regarded by staff to have potential. Also, four of the six council owned sites identified in the strategy were assessed and considered to have potential. Four more years have passed and it seems nothing has been done to progress these projects.
3. On 26.11.14 I emailed council asking why not. So far there is no reply and I am feeling perplexed that it has taken 16 years from our, fully councillor supported, initial idea to ‘no comment’, while so many of us experience daily great hardship.
Do some staff have a different plan: Impoverish and Disperse Strategy perhaps? Whatever, many are in crisis and despair who would not be with a properly set up caravan park and of course simple manufactured home estate cabins would be better.
Jed Stuart, Koonyum Range