Paving way for low cost and diverse housing options

Byron Shire Council is another step closer towards rezoning a parcel of land on Stuart Street at Mullumbimby for a unique, innovative housing development.

156 Stuart Street is a 28 hectare block of land on the outskirts of Mullumbimby that is known locally as Lot 22. Approximately half of the block is proposed to be rezoned for future housing.

The vision of Council is to support locals to get affordable and diverse housing in the town, including: social, lower cost and smaller, more affordable housing options.

Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the long term goal was to give local people somewhere to live in a shire that currently has no affordable housing available, or that caters for people such as older, single women, younger couples or local indigenous members looking to stay and live on country.

“Our community is changing rapidly because people cannot afford to live here anymore – property prices keep going up and up, there are very few rental properties available and what is on offer is very expensive,” Mayor Richardson said.

“In the face of this growing housing crisis, we need to respond like we would to any other emergency- with urgency, resolve and courage.

“Given the lack of action from the NSW Government on this matter, Council needs to step up because Mullumbimby and the shire more broadly, is in danger of losing some of its identity and becoming a gentrified off-shoot of Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.

Council’s aim is to develop the land into a mix of one, two and three bedroom housing over different lot sizes, with potential for approximately 250 to 350 dwellings to eventually be built on the section of the site earmarked for dwellings, community spaces and shared work places.

“The exciting thing is that this land, while on a floodplain that will be managed, is close to the Mullumbimby CBD, as well as the high school, community garden and skatepark so people can live happily without a car should they choose,” Mayor Richardson said.

“This is about saying yes to solutions instead of no to problems and really exploring what housing diversity could look like.

“Now, we need to be bold; to be flexible, innovative and willing to try new things,” he said.

“We know there are challenges to overcome on this site – nothing this important will be easy to achieve.

“To see what we can create, we want to work alongside all of our community, both those already with a safe and secure roof over their heads and those desperately seeking one,” Mayor Richardson said.

Council now has to prepare documentation including a structure plan and flood study for submission to the NSW Government for approval to put on public exhibition.

If the Gateway determination is supportive, the planning proposal and accompanying documentation will be placed on public exhibition for comment.

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