As a society, we have a responsibility to ensure that all community members have access to housing. We want to ensure families, key workers and the vulnerable can access homes as a fundamental human right.
CLT: A Community Land Trust (CLT), in simple terms, holds the value of land with the community in perpetuity, so that when a resident moves on from this dwelling, they leave the value behind for the next resident that requires an affordable dwelling.
It is important to understand the good work of the current Council during this term that has laid the foundations for the delivery of long-term affordability in our Shire. This includes putting in place the creation of a Community Land Trust for Byron Shire last year.
We estimate that at least 2,000 lots will need to be put into this trust in the next 5-10 years in order to ensure those locals who need it have a home.
The sad fact is, that so many people in our community are currently struggling and are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, or are in rental stress.
We need to challenge our idea of what housing people may look like in the short-term until we can provide as many long-term options as are needed in our community.
1. Limit the impact of Short-Term Rental Accommodation (STRA) to 90-days across most of the Byron Shire. Byron Shire Council is the only Council who have managed to negotiate this concession from the State Government on holiday letting in the form of a 90-day cap. Everywhere else in the State has either a 180-day cap or none at all.
2. Continue to lobby and be innovative in our approaches in order to secure land to dedicate to the Community Land Trust (CLT).
3. Campaign to expedite the rezoning of the Council-owned Lot 22 site in Mullumbimby for inclusion in the CLT. (This site alone could yield up to 300 dwellings).
4. Flag the old hospital site in Mullumbimby for inclusion in the CLT and reinstate the Mullumbimby Hospital Site Action Group to draft the Site Plan.
5. Prioritise the follow up on contributions by those seeking to develop their lands for residential housing as a means for securing land for the CLT. Council has already put in place a voluntary scheme which allows those who are identified in the residential strategy to fast-track their applications by signing a Voluntary Planning Agreement (VPA) whereby they agree to pass on 20% of the yield of lots from any given development.
The planning meeting in August flagged this system, with an example of a developer in Bangalow who has agreed voluntarily to contribute 8 lots to the Council as part of a VPA. These lots could be some of the first to enter the CLT.
6. Support the SEPP 70 Contributions Scheme, which is not a voluntary process, but instead requires any new residential development to contribute 20% of lots to the Council. Byron Shire has put in an application for this planning instrument, and we are in negotiations currently with the State Government. At the conclusion of this process Byron Shire should become the first Council area outside Sydney to have such a scheme in place. This is essential in combination with Lot 22, because there are many lands included in the Residential Strategy which border Lot 22 and are seeking rezoning for residential.
7. Progress the DA flagged At the August 2021 planning meeting. Mayor Michael Lyon moved a motion to address the housing emergency in the short-term, which involves emergency accommodation for those that are in insecure housing or at risk of homelessness but with the ability to pay in a normal rental market.
Environmental protection, rehabilitation and enhancement are fundamental to all good planning decisions.
Byron Shire covers 56,642 hectares including 39 km of coastline and 438 km of rivers and is one of the most biologically diverse regions of Australia with wonderful nature reserves, national parks and ongoing private & public reafforestation projects.
We aim to use our legislative and delegated powers to protect and enhance Byron’s biodiversity and support the award winning Byron Shire Council Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2020-2030.
This policy refers to plants, animals, microorganisms, their genes, communities and ecosystems.
Our team is aware that the subtropical lowland rainforests in Australia are critically endangered such that we will strive to protect and enhance the 317 hectares remaining in Byron Shire.
Our ecosystems include subtropical rainforest, wet & dry sclerophyll forest, coastal heath and shrublands, grasslands, coastal wetlands, estuaries, salt marshes and mangroves.
We advocate that our Shire is in some ways an experiment, inspiration and test case of what an aware & informed community can do to address the challenges of maintaining and improving biodiversity in the face of climate change.
We acknowledge that Byron Shire faces environmental challenges with weeds, overgrazing, bushfires, floods, coastal erosion and surges, temperature increases, and tourism and housing pressures
We believe we can be better custodians of the land than relying on the traditional models of cattle grazing on cleared land. We support regenerative agriculture with a diversity of food production that fosters local resilience.
We promote the fact that large parts of the shire were in pre-colonial times one of the largest subtropical forests in the world before governments incentivized major land clearing for timber, dairy and cattle farming. We acknowledge that much has been achieved in recognizing and rectifying that folly however a lot more is achievable and our community are excited by that prospect.
Environmental repair & enhancement, ecological integrity and climate change adaptation & mitigation will underlie all our policy considerations and planning decisions.
1. We are committed to working with Council and our community to undertake strategic projects aimed at repairing and regenerating all riparian zones Shire-wide and bringing back the health of our waterways.
2. We will continue to support Council’s efforts to map and create wildlife corridors and ensure that appropriate linkages between corridors exist.
3. We will encourage a balance of regenerative grazing, sustainable agriculture and a continued revegetation of the shire as part of our commitment to better land stewardship.
4. We will promote more planting of site specific local native species to improve the community’s air quality, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, bush food reserves and scenic values.
5. We will advocate for Council to optimise the opportunity to work with the community to restore connectivity and resilience across the landscape. This would involve innovative education, incentives and partnership programs that encourage conservation and best practice management on private and public land.
6. We will work constructively and collaboratively with landowners to make the above actions a reality, including developing incentives in conjunction with State and Federal grant schemes.
7. We will support Councils current local provisions requiring replanting of 900 trees per dwelling/cabin within the MO/CT and rural tourism policies and expand these provisions to any new form of housing within rural areas. The amount of trees would be assessed on the site capacity and ability to increase local biodiversity.
8. There are often much larger areas of grazing paddocks available for bush regeneration, tree planting or small scale farm forestry. This could be augmented by new rural and urban developer contributions for land repair and tree planting across the shire which in association with more small and medium size dwelling alternatives could actually enhance the environment and help the housing crisis at the same time.
9. We will develop a more merit based assessment of rural property developments including where multiple ownership, dual occupancy, secondary dwellings, tourist cabins and general housing options are mooted or currently permitted. The conditions for their approval need to be updated. Current rules tend to be inflexible, prescriptive and do not allow sufficiently for variations in size, topography, soil, vegetation, road access and the benefits of reafforestation [allowing for buffer zones for fire and ecological protection].
10. Future local and regional planning policies will need to continue to evolve towards an improving mosaic of biodiversity management, wildlife corridors, habitat connectivity, riparian revegetation and regenerative agriculture.
All of our towns and villages deserve great public transport and cycleways so that we can better connect.
We work towards increasing public transport connectivity, services, links and affordability shire-wide for locals and tourists.
1. Encourage transport options that reduce emissions in our shire and reduce the number of cars on our roads.
2. Continue investigations into the rail corridor as multi-use Partner with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and the Federal Government with a view to clearing the regrowth vegetation around the line so an engineering assessment can take place. It is worth noting here that this will be required whether a Rail, Rail and Trail or just a Bike Trail is resolved upon.
3. Continue to work with TfNSW to ensure a solution to the traffic chaos at the Ewingsdale interchange is implemented as soon as possible.
4. Investigate the provision of ‘Park & Ride’ hubs to access Byron Bay and thus ease congestion on Ewingsdale Rd.
5. Advocate for Dual Lanes on Ewingsdale Rd with dedicated bus lanes
CYCLEWAYS AND PATHS POLICY
The first Pedestrian and Mobility Plan (PAMP) and new Bike Plan for the Shire were developed in collaboration with the community as part of BSC’s Walk Roll Ride project.
We acknowledge the priorities identified by the community include:
- Construction of new off and on-road cycle ways, shared paths and road crossings.
- Upgrades to existing cycling infrastructure.
- Amendment of road design to support safe cycling.
- Encouraging cycling as a fun and healthy transport alternative.
- Integrating walking, wheelchairs, skateboards, scooters, pedal powered and electric bicycles in our cycleway and pathway connections.
Ease of mobility is critical to the strength of a community and its relationship with surroundings. There are of course, also numerous health, environmental and economic benefits for individuals and the wider community as a whole that naturally stems from ease of getting around.
The current reliance on cars to get around needs to be addressed as our population grows and roads become busier and more congested. We need to encourage other transport options including walking and cycling.
There are many gaps in the Shire’s 89km of footpaths and cycleways (incl. shared paths) that need to be rectified to encourage safe and connected movement around the Shire.
1. Assist community groups to prepare strategically-aligned grant applications to enable delivery of more cycleways.
2. Ensure that BSC’s PAMP and 10 year Bike plan are funded appropriately.
3. Allocate sufficient funds from the operational budget of Council for the maintenance of the pedestrian and cycleway network.
4. Ensure that the BSC Transport and Infrastructure Advisory Committee and Local Traffic Committee amend road design to support safe cycling and pedestrian accessibility.
5. Support cycleways between Brunswick Heads and Mullumbimby including investigating a route along the Brunswick River.
Arts, Culture and Creative Industries play a key role in building strong and cohesive communities. Our creative industries support connections between people and place and contribute significantly to our local economy.
We will champion Council’s Arts and Cultural Policy 2020 and will advocate for our community in fulfilling its objectives.
BSC ARTS AND CULTURE POLICY AUGUST 2020 – broadly outlining how Council aims to support arts and cultural vitality in the Byron Shire.
We value the thriving Arts, Culture and Creative Industries within the Byron Shire and the wider Northern Rivers and recognise the role they play in building our strong, resilient and cohesive communities.
We acknowledge the broad contribution of all the professional and emerging artists, practitioners and community groups to the culture of the Byron Shire and its economy.
We recognise the significant contribution of our local traditional custodians to the arts, cultural and natural landscape of Byron shire in the past, present and future.
We will support and encourage youth in exploring their own creative expression to contribute to their communities.
1. Assist our innovative, creative community to thrive with the establishment of community hubs providing affordable studios, co-working spaces, exhibition areas and places to share knowledge and skills
2. Support artists, practitioners and community groups to present their proposals to BSC for temporary or permanent art projects, events, and creative activations in public spaces across the Byron Shire.
3. Collaborate with new and expanding creative industries and support their proposals to BSC.
4. Ensure that existing infrastructure is maintained and is supported financially to provide quality creative activities for the community and we will advocate for new facilities as they are needed.
5. Explore the possibility of collaboration with other Northern River’s councils to create a culturally and creatively diverse regional festival that will attract a wide ranging demographic.
Sound Financial Management
Good governance is underpinned by a strong financial position that provides the investment in key infrastructure, programs and public facilities that our community deserves.
Our Shire has a very small population and rate base which limits Council’s capacity to provide the services it would like to offer its community. We have to rely very heavily on grants and support from Federal and State Government especially for infrastructure projects.
It is widely recognised that the impact of Tourism on our shire is profound. While our large tourist numbers support local businesses and employment, this does not translate into money received by Council. Further, after many years of lobbying, there has been no indication that a bed tax will be allowed.
It is worth noting that increasing land values do not have any impact on the amount of money Council receives from rates.
Fully costed financial policies and ways to generate the necessary revenue to deliver lasting benefits to our shire will be released shortly and include:
Developer Contributions review
Pay parking policy
Attention to grant applications
Addressing cost-shifting from State and Federal governments