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Byron Shire
June 19, 2024

Another six months for Kingscliff pods? Why has Reconstruction Authority failed flood victims?

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Pod site in Kingscliff. Photo Angela Watson

The floods of 2022 were devastating leaving many people without a place to call home. Responding to this the NSW Reconstruction Authority (NSW RA) and Resilience NSW looked at implementing a program of providing temporary ‘pods’ for housing people impacted by the floods to get back on their feet either to rebuild their homes or look for more permanent housing solutions. 

When there has been no rain in the vast deep paddock to the north of Beach Street and Elrond Drive, Kingscliff where the pods have been placed. Photo Angela Watson

The pods at Elrond Drive, Kingscliff were placed on a site that is a dedicated green space for the community and NSW RA committed to assisting those people who were utilising the pods to reestablish themselves following the floods by helping them to find alternative accommodation or getting their homes rebuilt. However, in February at a community meeting, following their request for a two year extension to the lease, the RA admitted that they had failed to do this and they would withdraw their request for the extension to the lease.

The NSW RA have extended all other pod sites throughout the Northern Rivers for another five years. 

The RA have subsequently submitted an alternative request for a six month extension to the lease that currently ends in June 2025. If granted this extension would take the lease to December 2025. 

‘Kingscliff’s temporary housing village has 31 self-contained housing units which provide a safe and secure home to more than 60 people affected by the 2022 floods. Some residents are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt, while some need to find an affordable rental property,’ said Tweed Shire Mayor, Chris Cherry. 

‘While Council supports this request for a six-month extension, we want to hear from local residents to understand their views on the request for an extension before making a final decision on the request.’

Pod site Kingscliff. Photo NSW Reconstruction Authority

NSW RA failure

Speaking to The Echo, President of the Kingscliff Ratepayers and Progress Association (KRPA) Peter Newton said, ‘The position of the KRPA has always been one of support for the flood affected people of Kingscliff, Tweed and the Northern Rivers.’

‘Nobody wants to see our flood affected folk on the street. In fact, KRPA and most of the wider community, despite the lack of consultation, supported the establishment of the temporary village for some of our most vulnerable. Donations and other offers of support were made, concerns that these vulnerable people were just being “dumped’” without adequate support were raised, a community “street party” to welcome the new neighbours was proposed – all met with deafening silence by those in charge. This has never been a case of local residents wanting a park versus throwing flood affected people onto the streets, as appears to be the current false narrative.’

Mr Newton said KRPA want to see the NSW RA meet their commitments both to the flood impacted people at the site as well as the local residents. 

‘By their own admission, at the February community meeting, the NSW RA have handled the situation appallingly,’ said Mr Newton.

The commitment was that they would return it by the end of the lease back to the community and that the people within the accommodation site would be supported to get back on their feet and looked after. We just want them to honour the commitments they made. They have a whole year to achieve these commitments as it stands. 

‘The RA needs to support these vulnerable community members to be able to return to permanent accommodation as per the intent of the temporary accommodation, and for the site to be rehabilitated and returned to the community as public reserve and green space as promised.’

Moveable accommodation pods

When the pods were originally touted and installed the NSW government said that they were moveable pods that could be redeployed to other sites for temporary housing following disasters. 


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Two years does seem like long enough for people to get back on their feet? These houses should probably remain as social housing but there are many out there who also need a hand. I do think the housing should move off the designated greenspace as promised.

  2. Just want to put a honourable mention out there about the idiocy of the Mullumbimby pods. The plumbers screwed up and the pods had to be built facing each other. Only a few meters apart and you can see right into each others living space. Years of no privacy. I’d go insane.

    The whole thing has been a disgraceful shambles.

    Instead of wasting all this money and all the hemming and hawing, how about investing in social housing again?

    And stop surveying flood prone land. The stupidity is just mind boggling. Come on. Just… Come on.

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