Council backs affordable housing plan on flood prone land
A PROPOSAL to transform a council-owned block of land in Mullumbimby is progressing.
The matter, involving land known as "Lot 22", located at 156 Stuart St, went back before Byron Shire Council last Thursday, when staff had recommended an amended planning proposal be prepared and sent to the state planning department for Gateway determination.
Lot 22, which includes the Mullumbimby Community Gardens, is one of four sites that make up the Saltwater Creek Precinct, an area identified for investigation for future affordable and diverse housing.
Mayor Simon Richardson reserved the matter not specifically to debate it, but to endorse the staff recommendation and speak to the merits of the project.
"My vision is clear: to create diverse housing types that meet the needs for our locals," he said.
He said the idea was for housing there to be available to those needing low-cost housing and for Aboriginal members of the community who want to live on country.
He said his vision would also see the nearby Saltwater Creek enhanced.
"The vision's for a space that allows connection to town, the community gardens," he said.
"Profit is no motive; we simply seek a cost-neutral outcome.
"We'll be guided by the ongoing and further studies to see how many lots."
He said while the land was flood prone, it's expected this can be managed.
Also in its favour is that it is walking distance to the Mullumbimby town centre, he said.
"The bottom line is unless we create smaller, lower-cost housing, we'll become more gentrified, we'll become more expensive and we'll become less surrounded by locals," Cr Richardson said.
"I'd rather a great housing opportunity on imperfect land … (than something) that will never come."
Cr Sarah Ndiaye said the project would "take commitment and resilience".
"It's the next step on what could be a really transformative journey for us," she said.
The staff recommendation was unanimously supported.