A sizeable area of land on the southern edge of Mullumbimby would become home to scores of new houses if a draft masterplan for the town was adopted in its current form.
The community will have its first clear look at Byron Council’s plans for the future of the town when the masterplan comes before Byron Council’s weekly planning meeting for discussion and debate this Thursday.
The blueprint, developed in consultation with a group of local community representatives, predicts that Mullumbimby’s population will grow significantly in the coming years.
‘Growth seems inevitable unless the town wishes to force out many of those who currently call Mullum home, but will need to be tempered with definitive urban edges and through a retention of Mullumbimby’s ‘country town feel’ and unique character,’ the Masterplan states.
This would require a significant increase in housing which, according to the plan’s authors, must ‘embrace those on lower incomes through new land close to town’.
Much of this would be located in an area known as ‘Precinct 4 – South Mullumbimby’ which runs in a rough band from the Mullumbimby Golf Club right around the Southern edge of the town to Anne Street near the town’s eastern entrance.
‘South Mullumbimby is well-placed to handle much of the future housing growth of the town and the region,’ the Masterplan states.
‘It is well connected to the town, and has capacity to provide a diversity of dwellings close to services.’
‘It will be vital that any new development in this area is sensitive to the existing character and values of the town.’
Other areas of land slated for development are the areas next to the rail corridor, infill development in the laneways and shop-top housing in the centre of town.
Mullumbimby’s central thoroughfare, Burringbar Street, is also set for a significant transformation, should the masterplan be adopted.
The plan’s author’s envisage turning the road into a ‘Talking Street’ – a shared, pedestrian and bike-friendly zone with far fewer car movements.
This would be assisted by formalising the alternate vehicle routes around the town – Tincogan and Fern streets – which many use already.
In a related move, Stuart Street would become the town’s Green Spine – a boulevard that acts as the primary town centre walking/cycling route, linking the river to the community gardens.
Other proposals include a series of placemaking seed projects in the Town Centre funded through Council and state government grants, and increasing density in the town’s business areas.
They key challenges that are identified as facing the town are housing affordability, climate change and traffic congestion and the divergent views of local residents.