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Byron Shire
May 19, 2022

Modular homes for flood victims head to Bruns

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Former Brunswick Heads Sewage Treatment Plant site during remediation.

Two vacant blocks in the Bayside housing estate in Brunswick Heads, and land that once contained that town’s sewage treatment plant (STP), have been chosen to host temporary ‘modular houses’ for those left homeless by the recent floods.

Nearly a month after the State government announced its $350m plan to provide up to 2,000 modular homes across the Northern Rivers, the roll-out has finally reached the Byron Shire.

The two Council-owned sites were selected by Resilience NSW from 16 put forward by Byron Shire Council.

The first consists of two small vacant blocks on Torakina Road and Excelsior Circuit in the Bayside housing estate.

The second is located at 125 Tweed Street, the now remediated site of the former Brunswick Heads Sewage Treatment Plant.

No DA required

Under special legislation passed by the State government to help address the flood crisis, it does not need development consent to install the modular homes or any accompanying infrastructure. 

‘There’s no doubt that housing is the most pressing challenge for the thousands of people impacted by these floods,’ NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said at the time of the original housing announcement.

‘We’re committed to delivering safe and secure housing to all flood impacted communities.’

The sites will contain ‘moveable homes in various configurations which can accommodate one to four people, and will be co-located with supporting infrastructure and amenities’.

When asked how many dwellings would be placed on the two sites, Byron Council said this and other details such as layout and access were still to be finalised, but that they estimated it to be at least 50.

The final number will be contained in a lease agreement between the State government and Byron Council that has reportedly been drafted by staff from both governmental arms.

This draft is set to be debated at this week’s Council planning meeting on Thursday.

The staff report contained in the agenda to that meeting provides a modicum of further information about the temporary accommodation.

This includes the fact that it must be safe and have appropriate services, and that it must be ‘removed within five years of being established’.

‘Development consent is required to continue operating the caravan park or camping ground beyond this point,’ the staff report states.

While development consent is not required to install the modular homes, the government must ensure that they are installed on land that is supplied with water and electricity, has sewerage and drainage services and has access to communal amenities.

A community housing provider will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the homes, including admission and turnover of occupants, and closing down the sites once all occupants have found more permanent homes.

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