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Byron Shire
May 17, 2021

Secret Mullum development report upsets residents

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Council-owned Lot 22 on Stuart Street, Mullumbimby, is proposed for affordable housing, yet it is also floodprone.

Paul Bibby

Byron Council has produced a ‘secret’ report on potential development sites in Mullumbimby, including Council-owned land near the Community Gardens, the Mullumbimby Residents Association (MRA) says.

In a letter to The Echo, the association’s convenor, Sonia Laverty, said Council had formed a ‘consortium’ with a group of private landowners in the town with the intention of building more housing.

Ms Laverty said part of this process involved writing a Mullumbimby Land Release Assessment (MLRA) exploring the development potential of a number of green field sites around the town.

This includes Lot 22, a Council-owned site adjacent to the Community Gardens, which has been the subject of significant debate within different sections of the Mullumbimby community.

‘The work of this private/Council consortium has never been advertised,’ Ms Laverty said.

‘Its report, The Mullumbimby Land Release Assessment has not been made available for public viewing or comment.

‘Nor have Council’s cost sharing arrangements with the private consortium been made public.

‘The apparent secrecy which surrounds this report is of concern and very different to the “openness” of the structure of the committee for the North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan (FRMS&P).’

Ms Laverty said the report not been made public, despite requests to this effect from her association, and assurances from senior Council officers that it would be released.

‘MRA also understands that the MLRA report has never been presented, in any form, to the FRMS&P committee for endorsement of any kind.

Right to know

‘We have a right to know what is in the report. As a first step the adoption of the North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study & Plan should be deferred until the Mullumbimby Land Release Assessment has been released publicly.’

Independent Councillor Michael Lyon confirmed the existence of the MLRA.

‘We desperately need new, affordable housing and this report assesses the suitability of Lot 22 in Mullumbimby and the surrounding properties for that purpose’.

‘We needed a separate report, which is part-funded by the property owners and by Council, to evaluate the suitability of this land for housing.

Will be released eventually, says Cr

‘The floodplain committee will get access to the report well before it gets debated by councillors and gets voted on’.

The use of the Lot 22 site for affordable housing has been the subject of debate within the community for around three years.

The Council sees the site as a vital opportunity to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in the town.

The MRA strongly opposes the use of the site for housing, on the grounds that it is prone to flooding, has insufficient road access, and is a vital area of open space that is much loved by the community.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. This is scandalous, how dare Byron Council even consider using land that is subject for any form of housing affordable or not!

    Council would be financially liable for any losses residents incur due to flooding. Does Council not intend to apply due diligence to this consideration?

    The land would be better used as rentable allotments for residents who wish to grow their own food in a collective manner. Not only does this create better use of the land, it also allows the residents to meet each other, swap vegies and stories. This is a way of Council being proactive in engendering better communities and understanding.

    Put the community first Byron Council, use Council owned – ratepayer owned – land for the greater good of the community as a whole.

  2. Yep well sadly it’s gotta be done.. I’ve lived here for over 20 years, my family are from Bangalow and have lived in the area since the 60’s. People here want to keep this a small town but unfortunately people are flocking here making it completely unaffordable. Something needs to be done to address the housing shortage and unfortunately Byron shire has to develop to accommodate. We can’t keep this place a series of small towns anymore. I wish we could stop people moving here but u just can’t.. due to the housing shortage it’s only people with money that can afford to be here, wanting a small town life with the luxuries of the city. The demographic has completed changed, the colourful people of the rainbow region are being pushed out by black range rovers with their pumped up lips and superficial values.. it’s been so sad to watch.. land needs to open up unfortunately so there can be a balance of rich and poor- byron shire is gentrification on steroids..

  3. It’s clear cut corruption. I have sent the council the plans for a sustainable development including plans for self sustaining energy production. But the council refuses to look at any alternative other than the plan the NAZIS from the State government push.

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