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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Sustainable development options needed

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Robin Harrison, Binna Burra

Oh dear, a nutjob in charge of the White House. How unusual, although there wasn’t much choice. The major difference between a professional politician and a real estate salesman, or in our case a merchant bankster, is the spelling.

Speaking of the rise of the real estate salesman, the highway is through and the developers are gathering for their real estate bonanza. We’ve been watching it happen for the last 30 years along this coastal corridor. Whatever we have learned about sustainable living in this area is in imminent danger of being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of completely unsustainable variations on suburbia, the only development models available.

We hear of Council’s apparently sincere concern about affordable housing but in our current development models that will only happen in the less expensive western suburbs of our future conurbation, which then get more expensive and affordable housing will have to move again. It’s almost disappeared already here in the more expensive eastern suburbs.

Affordable housing is not possible without sustainable development models. Byron and neighbouring councils are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the knowledge resources available to them in this region and start creating.

Here’s another incentive. The sustainability movement has discovered that sustainable practice makes far better economic sense than anything we’ve done so far. For instance, check out what renewables are doing to coal.

That means there is the potential to economically outcompete our current development models. Not just here, globally.

Rather than being overwhelmed, this region could become a net exporter of the major growth industry of the 21st century: sustainable ­living.

Are there any visionary entrepreneurs with a concern for our future interested in this simple equation? We need sustainable development models and they are likely to be economically smarter than current models, particularly at scale.

Council would probably like to help.

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  1. Robin I agree the Northern Rivers could be an exporter of sustainable living. The region could do lot more to create an amenable environment to showcase its products in concert with its tourist industry by better provision and promotion of active transport – particularly better cycling and better public transport. Some councils like Lismore and Ballina have done some good work in providing cycling infrastructure and have plans afoot to do more. The Byron Shire has done some work too but hardly what would be expected in such a green focused shire, and some so called “green” representatives and their supporters haves shown by their lack of support to the rail trail that regardless of what they say they have little interest in promoting cycling and cycle tourism. .Efforts to try and improve public transport have been very limited. I do not of course include the constant and time-wasting call to reinstate the rail service – a not very efficient or sustainable transport either environmentally or economically in a region of dispersed population where the majority live too far from the line and the line does not serve external transport hubs. It is time Councils, the local state government members and people who actually want to improve sustainable transport got serious about providing and promoting public transport improvements that we know work – like car sharing and an efficient well timetabled bus services in the region. And it is time too to provide safer motoring and cycling , by much tighter control of motor vehicle speeds. changing the tolerant attitude to drink and drug driving of many residents and visitors, and by providing safe cycle infrastructure to everywhere in the region


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