A Draft Residential Strategy for too much growth

The Strategy as exhibited is not built around Ecologically Sustainable Development principles. The amount of growth Byron is currently experiencing, coupled with the Strategy’s proposal for even more growth, is simply unsustainable. BRG submission on Res Strategy_11102019

Byron Residents’ Group believes that this Draft Residential Strategy cannot be adopted and the following must be done first:

  • a Local Growth Management Strategy is prepared that identifies the quantum of growth with 5 and10 year staging plans is provided;
  • further identification of locational limits on growth is provided with reference to sewerage, traffic, social and environmental impacts – eg Byron Bay is constrained by traffic and the incapacity of the Belongil catchment to take more treated sewerage;
  • the numbers presented in the Strategy are verified and corrected;
  • the community is consulted on how big they want the Shire to grow;
  • there is a moratorium on new land releases until the Local Growth Management Strategy is prepared, and
  • the Strategy must account for, and deal with, tourism growth and its effects on availability of residential properties, residential amenity, and infrastructure.

Whilst this Strategy was being prepared, and since the release of the North Coast Regional Strategy 2016 (NCRS), Byron has already delivered around 40% of the target dwellings required by that Strategy. This housing is added to the targets for the previous Far North Coast Regional (FNCRS) 2006, which we also met more than ten years early. At this rate, Byron will have met the 2035 targets for the North Coast Regional Strategy in around 2022, thirteen years early; this is an oversupply by any measure.

Byron Residents’ Group acknowledges that Council must prepare a Residential Strategy as a requirement of the state legislative and planning frameworks. This Draft Residential Strategy (DRS) is an improvement on the 2016 Draft which proposed excessive dwelling targets and land releases and had virtually no community input.

Byron Residents’ Group (BRG) notes that a good deal of community consultation was undertaken by Council staff in preparing this DRS. We acknowledge the time and effort taken by staff to speak with residents of the Shire. We also note a commitment from the community and Council to consider different ways of approaching ‘development’ and to deliver better housing options to Byron Shire residents.

Whilst asking people what they want and what they think the Shire needs in terms of the kinds of housing is important, there remains the issue of what Council can actually deliver in a marketplace where Byron real estate is excessively inflated. We should be supporting our community to stay in the Shire but when most of the available land is held privately, providing low-cost housing is very difficult. Any measures that can do that should be undertaken but providing the mechanisms to create yet more housing on new land releases is not the answer.

BRG submission on Res Strategy_11102019

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