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Byron Shire
December 4, 2022

Emergency housing

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Editorial – Wokie dokey

Last Thursday’s Council meeting was an example of when a good idea gets kiboshed because the people proposing the idea are considered crazy conspiracy theorists.

Resilience NSW was tasked to provide emergency housing for flood refugees. Byron Council and Transport NSW provided 3–5 year short-term leases for three greenfield sites – the rail land in Prince St, Mullum, the riverbank behind the Bruns sports field, and on public open space beside the preschool in Bayside Brunswick.

Nine months later the engineers are still filling and compacting the soil – right on the riverbank in Brunswick Heads and in Prince Street with B-double trucks cruising through our towns every day, for months on end, at phenomenal, unnecessary and unwanted expense.

Small pod-homes could cheaply and easily be erected on stilts, aboveground at the appropriate height with minimal disturbance to the site. Car parking could be provided along the edge of the site instead of putting a carport beside every dwelling. Paths can aid pedestrians. Digging trenches to provide services isn’t easier with tonnes of roadbase in the way.

The roadbase is needed so cars and trucks can drive over the sites instead of parking offsite and hiring a crane to lower the pods onto the foundations.

It’s the most insensitive, inappropriate design and construction undertaken in our Green Shire, seemingly without any consultation with, approval by, or oversight from Council – the leaseholder. It must be stopped before they dump fill at Bayside Brunswick too.

After months of costly activity we still haven’t got one house, yet our caravan parks are raking in the profits on their unfilled, unimproved land sites. There is no justification or necessity for this ugly brutalist style of development in the 21st century.

Who are these experts? The professionals over-engineering with this gold-plated use of public funds? Why has no one in power queried or challenged this excessive over-development on leased land? Where are those Byron Shire councillors and directors hiding? Even the work crews are embarrassed to talk about the environmental impacts.

There are far better ways to provide accommodation for those in dire need, just ask the community for advice – we’re giving it away for free.

Michele Grant

Ocean Shores

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