26.1 C
Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

How do we protect the heritage of a rapidly gentrifying tourist town?

Latest News

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Other News

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Lismore urges REX to reconsider service cancellation

The regional airline Regional Express (REX) announced yesterday that five services, including its Lismore service, would cease once government support through the RANS program is discontinued at the end of March.

A name by any other

Rod Murray, Ocean Shores An extract from Turning the Tide, the latest Australian Marine Conservation supporter newsletter: ‘Last year the Adani...

Ready for Byron’s latest massive development on Jonson St?

The changing face of Byron as Gold Coast and Sydney developers move in to recreate the look and feel of the town with intense development proposals.

Editorial – A personal take on politics and media

Since its inception in 1986 by a bunch of ratbag hippy locals, The Echo has championed the voice of the afflicted, not the comfortable. That should be the aim of every media organisation.

Gold Coast of Byron

Matt Hartley, Byron Bay I think it’s all about canals, West Byron, and a pile of money. Since The Echo...

Paul Bibby

Should future development in Brunswick Heads fit in with the aesthetic of a 1950s holiday village, or do we have to accept that modern architecture, in both style and scale, will inevitably be part of the Shire’s oldest town?

This was a key element of the debate at last week’s Byron Council planning meeting, as councillors considered making parts of Brunswick Heads into heritage conservation areas.

An artist’s rendering of The Kollective development proposed for Brunswick Heads. www.thecorsobrunswick.net.au

While plans were already afoot for the town to be given a heritage designation in Byron’s key planning documents, independent Councillor Cate Coorey moved that the process be fast-tracked.

‘Brunswick Heads was included in the community-based heritage study that led to Mullumbimby, Bangalow and some areas of Byron Bay being incorporated into the DCP and LEP in 2014 as heritage conservation areas,’ Cr Coorey said.

‘However, Brunswick Heads was not included, despite its historical significance, and the fact that the 45 individual properties were recommended in the study for heritage protection.’

Representing the Brunswick Heads Progress Association during public access, Matthew O’Reilly summed up the association’s desire to retain the town’s old world charms.

‘The benefit for Brunswick Heads is that we can get architecture that fits in with the holiday village, fishing village aesthetic of the town, rather than the cubist, modern buildings that don’t fit in with what Brunswick Heads wants.’

Manor houses 

‘The other benefit is that complying development under the medium density SEPP (State Environmental Planning Policy) – that’s manor houses and terraces – would have to have a DA.

‘We just hope that Council can support this and get back to us with a clear timeline.’

But Mayor Simon Richardson and three other councillors opposed the attempt to fast-track the process, with Cr Richardson speaking against the proposition that Brunswick Heads was ‘nothing more than a town of surf shacks and should remain that way’.

‘It worries me when I hear “Bruns is full of 50s surf shacks and we don’t want cubist buildings”,’ Cr Richardson said.

‘I’ve lived in Bruns in quite a few houses, and never lived in a surf shack.

‘This comment of “This is Bruns, and we don’t want something else” really worries me, especially when it comes without expertise.

‘We’ve even heard that we’re worried about development, therefore we want this, rather than we’re seeing heritage and we want to protect it’.

In the end, a significantly modified version of Cr Coorey’s motion was passed by councillors that deviated little from the existing plan to include parts of Brunswick Heads within the heritage schedule of local planning laws.

The main difference was a requirement that the community consultation work in relation to this inclusion is to be completed by August this year.

Councillors also voted to consider allocating money to the project at its next budget review.

Cr Richardson, along with councillors Michael Lyon, Paul Spooner and Alan Hunter voted against the proposal.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. I think development can be done sympathetically and in the style of any existing town and don’t see the point in changing it into just another hideous quick build style. Cairns and Port Douglas are great examples of architecture that keeps the feel of a place. In Byron, a building like the Balcony is also a great example of seaside style but Mercato Shopping Centre and the hideous Backpacker tower where Aldi is, are examples of shit designs truly unsuited to this town.
    Brunswick Heads needs a little fresh ion but a facelift , not a complete face transplant.
    A traditional fisherman’s wharf addition , replete with restaurants, at the old co-op site would be a great start.

  2. Taste in Architecture is very individual .
    However, I have heard many local friends say that some of the modern architecture seen in Brunswick Heads seems imposing dominating, over the general feel of the little town.
    The Kollective is a development which caters not for ‘low to income earners’, (low income includes the people that are serving your coffees and caring for the elderly) but seems to infer that is the case.
    Another look at DCP incorporation may be advisable.

  3. Like it or not, The Corso development pictured is proposed for Bayside Brunswick, not the older part of town. Although Matthew O’Reilly says Brunswick has a ‘ holiday village, fishing village aesthetic’, surely that’s just certain parts of it – Bayside for example is a modern housing development, and the existing buildings are mostly single storey brick. The buildings being constructed right now in the newly released part of Bayside don’t look like 1950s fishing shacks.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Local fisherfolk caught in the parking fine net

FIsherfolk have been caught in the net of parking fines designed to stop travellers parking up for the night on the Tweed Coast Road and they are seeking help to access their beaches at night without fines.

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Northern Rivers policeman accused of youth assault acquitted

Magistrate Michael Dakin has ordered a common assault charge against a former Byron-based policeman be dropped after an altercation involving a naked youth in Byron Bay three years ago.