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Byron Shire
August 18, 2022

Affordable housing precinct moves closer 

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An affordable housing planning proposal for ‘at least 250 dwellings with a range of lot sizes’, is progressing on a parcel of Council managed land, located just outside of Mullumbimby. 

All councillors voted in favour at last week’s meeting to seek the NSW planning minister’s approval for Gateway Determination.

Lot 22 Stuart Street, Mullumbimby, the site of a proposed tiny home affordable housing development. Byron Shire Council have asked the NSW planning department for permission to rezone 22 hectares just south of Mullum’s CBD.

Known as Lot 22, the flood constrained land is 29.2 hectares and is located south of the CBD, includes the community gardens and is adjacent to the sports fields. 

Under the Gateway Determination request, blocks would be between 50m2 and 1,400m2, with most being around 200m2 as minimum lot sizes. 

Yet it was pointed out in public access that it comes without a cost benefit analysis and is unsupported by the SES, owing to the flooding risk to human life. 

Flooding downplayed

Those concerns were downplayed by Mayor Simon Richardson, who told the gallery flooding could be managed and that it was, ‘hard to paint a picture’ of what the final outcome will be. ‘That’s the point’, he said. ‘We want to get down the path to find out’.

A community engagement program is expected, with further reports to come after public submissions. A ‘holistic and transport study for the precinct’ will also be prepared by staff. 

There is yet to be a management model of the project, if approved, or how much fill is required to undertake the project. 

The brief vision within the staff reports states: ‘A diverse and affordable housing precinct. Neighbourhoods set within the green landscape of the recreation grounds, creek corridors and the connected place with walk and cycle links to the nearby schools, town centre, parks and services. 

‘Lot 22 creates opportunities for a mix of people to join (or re-join) the creative and diverse community of Mullumbimby. This would include: singles and young people; key workers; low income workers and students; lone parents; first home buyers; the elderly; welfare recipients; and people transitioning out of homelessness. Local Aboriginal people seeking affordable opportunities to live on Country’. 

While still in the development phase, Council estimate, ‘30 per cent of dwellings to be managed by an affordable housing provider’. It will also include, ‘Approximately 11.5 hectares of rehabilitated creek corridors, drainage corridors and wetlands’. 

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  1. Richardson told the gallery flooding could be managed.

    The big question: HOW?

    Politicians great and less than great typically make similar claims, but without the substance of their “solutions” they’re just so much hot air.


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