19.9 C
Byron Shire
February 9, 2023

Ballina council pauses plans for affordable workers’ housing

Latest News

Iron Gates development in Evans Head land owners go into administration – again

The Iron Gates development, that is on flood- and fire-prone land near Evans Head, has been fought by the community for over 30 years. The current company that owns the site, Goldcoral Pty Ltd whose director is Graeme Ingles, has now been placed into administration.

Other News

Swivel by name, drivel by nature

The lack of authenticity of Byron Councillor, Mark Swivel, does not come as a surprise from this side of...

Local libraries get ByteWise about science

A National Science and Technology Centre program, ByteWise is a revolving showcase of 24 interactive exhibitions that will be touring the Northern Rivers for the next three months.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Art imitates life in What’s Love Got to Do with It? a 2022 British romantic comedy-drama film directed by Shekhar Kapur, from a screenplay by Jemima Khan.  The precis reads: ‘Set between London and Lahore, a filmmaker documents her childhood friend and neighbour’s arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan.’

Better outcomes start with teachers who believe in inclusive education

For all students – particularly those with additional needs – a teacher who doesn't believe in inclusive education can be harmful.

Choose your own (piano) adventure

The audience ‘chooses its own musical adventure’ determining the playlist from a selection of works by composers ranging from J. S. Bach, Frederic Chopin and Claude Debussy to George Gershwin, Bill Evans – and more. A list of musical choices will be made available on the day, and audience members can submit their choices via their phone.

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Wollongbar. Photo supplied.

Ballina Shire Council plans for affordable workers’ housing in Wollongbar are on pause pending consultation with state agencies on projects elsewhere.

Councillors at last month’s ordinary meeting agreed to discuss the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area separately from other matters already voted on in a Commercial Services Committee meeting in mid-November.

The earlier meeting had resulted in councillors voting in support of selling half the land in question at Wollongbar and investigating options for affordable workers’ housing on the other half.

But councillors at the later meeting heard stage agencies had since announced plans to kick-start affordable housing in the region.

The suggestion evoked the usual calls from some councillors to leave the matter of housing provision to state and federal governments.

Ballina council in discussions with Landcom about housing

Ballina Cr Eva Ramsey. Photo David Lowe.

Independent Cr Eva Ramsey moved for the matter to be deferred until the council had ‘feedback in respect to ongoing discussions with the State Government and Landcom in respect to the provision of housing on other locations’.

Cr Ramsey referred to unfavourable risks in the current housing market such as interest rates and building costs and sad the council shouldn’t be taking on a residential project in the present economic climate.

‘We shouldn’t be using ratepayers’ money for this sort of thing,’ Cr Ramsey said.

Independent Cr Phillip Meehan seconded the motion, which also won the support of Deputy Mayor Eoin Johnston and Independent Cr Stephen McCarthy.

The two Greens councillors, Kiri Dicker and Simon Chate, voted against.

Feasibility study ignored

Ballina Cr Kiri Dicker. Photo David Lowe.

Cr Dicker said the council had already hired consultants to carry out an economic analysis of the project and found in favour of it.

‘The feasibility study initially demonstrated that Councel developing and leasing at least part of this estate made good financial sense,’ Cr Dicker said, ‘and indicated that we would likely pay off the assets within a decade, which I think is really positive’.

‘By selling lots one to eighteen, we would make enough money to pay back our loan debt and also fund the cost of construction,’ Cr Dicker said.

The Greens councillor said she’d been happy with the decision made in favour of the project at the Commercial Services Committee meeting, where all councillors had been present except Cr Meehan.

Councillors at the time had agreed to a three-part motion from Cr Dicker as follows:

  1. That Council sell at public auction Lots 1-18 (Site 1) of the Wollongbar

Urban Expansion Area.

  1. That Council further explore the feasibility of developing and retaining for leasing all or part of Site 2 (Lots 19 to 30) of the WUEA for the purposes of providing affordable housing for essential workers in accordance with State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2021.
  2. That Council write to or arrange a meeting with the Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services, Hon Natasha McLaren-Jones to discuss social housing projects for Ballina Shire.

Mayor a ‘passionate supporter’ of Wollongbar housing project, says Dicker

Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader. Photo David Lowe.

Mayor Sharon Cadwallader and Cr Jeff Johnson were absent from the later, ordinary meeting while Crs Nigel Buchanan and Rodney Bruem were absent from the meeting during the vote on the Wollongbar Urban Expansion Area.

Crs Cadwallader and Bruem had voted for the housing project idea at the CSC meeting, while Crs Johnson and Buchanan had voted against.

Cr Dicker said she was disappointed the council would reverse the vote when the mayor wasn’t present.

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. Really these councillors describing themselves as independent is a farce. They want to be the developers friend and don’t give a rats about affordable housing. Unfortunately you get what you voted for.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Far North Coast branch of NSW Farmers launches

The new NSW Farmers Far North Coast Branch, that will be representing farmers from the Tweed and Byron Shires, launched yesterday.

New Lismore refugee support group starting up

A local group from the Lismore area, the Lismore Region Refugee Settlement (LRRS), have come together to support refugees settling in the area. 

A tribute for Richard Moloney

Byron Shire has lost another of its colourful characters, the irrepressible Richard Moloney, who died suddenly but peacefully in his home at the end of January.

Flood rebuilds hampered by ‘like-for-like’ insurance clause

Attempts by flood-affected homeowners to retrofit their homes with flood-resilient materials are being cruelled by insurance companies and builders, a local resident says.