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Byron Shire
February 5, 2023

Spaceship Byron Bay

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I remember reading a prophetic article in a local newspaper in the Byron Shire in the 1970s in which the correspondent wrote: ‘Spaceship Byron Bay – everyone wants to be the last person on board the spaceship, pull up the gangplank behind them and announce – no more development, I’m here now.’ 

Now I read with interest an article by Paul Bibby concerning a proposal by Davgav for a light industrial development opposite the Federal Hall. By a strange convergence, this article, and the other major topic that is of particular interest to myself (and literally tens of thousands of others, struggling with accommodation in Northern NSW towns) appear together in the recent Holiday edition of The Echo.

Having been flooded out of both my home/office in Coraki and my office in Lismore on 28 February this year and having salvaged what I could from the mud, I made a decision to return to the Byron Shire. I figured that, as my home base has been here since 1973, that I would find it easier to pick up the pieces and rebuild my life here, surrounded by friends and family, rather than in another area without that support. 

I have discovered over the last nearly ten months that this has absolutely been the case; as has happened in other turbulent periods in my life, acts of help and support from members of the community come in a myriad ways, often from unexpected directions and from unexpected sources.

To the particular, personal issue: Having worked as an accountant in public practice throughout Northern NSW over several decades, I’m having difficulty finding an office of a suitable size and at a reasonable rental to practise and redevelop. I have decided to stay in the Federal area. 

Office space around Federal is not readily available – and then along comes Davgav who come, smack-bang, up against the anti-development lobby. 

I, for one, would like to see this development go ahead because history tells me that if well-intentioned developers, proposing sensitive developments in keeping with the needs of the community are pushed away, then they’ll pack up and go somewhere else.  

Often the development we end up with on the site, which ‘ticks all the boxes’ and is approved, is an ugly box. 

Byron Bay itself is full of these developments from the ’70s and ’80s that should never have been allowed, but got through after more ambitious, more aesthetically pleasing proposals for those sites were rejected.

Graham Mathews, Federal 

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