Volume 25 #31
January 11, 2011
The developments I have witnessed over 20 years while growing up and going to school here are marginal compared to what has happened in other parts of the country in that time.
Through appropriate planning, we have resisted the pressures of developing for the sake of the bogus economic need and this is why Byron Shire doesn’t look like the Gold Coast.
The price of over-development however, is that on my wage I can’t afford to own my own home. Everyone wants to live here. I could buy up the coast, but shudder at the thought of living in a small stuffy concrete box built by a baby-boomer.
That pressure of development and affordable housing has been brought into focus by the current DA for the old Bruns gym/squash courts. It’s on public exhibition until January 12.
The proposal has attracted much concern and anger from neighbours in the township. It’s being touted as ‘affordable housing’, – one of those buzz words like ‘sustainablity’– and M and J Stebbing’s plan for a 33 unit bed-sit building strikes me as an inappropriate use of that building. It also points to the the new owners being completely out of step with the ethos of Brunswick Heads.
I have yet to see an altruistic vision and follow through from a developer in this Shire. Understandably developers, as in all business, require return on investment (ROI) and the thought they they are somehow providing housing to someone struggling on a meagre income deserves scrutiny and examination. Always.
As students at Mullum High we would travel to that gym on sports day. The gym was available, along with the swimming pool and squash courts, and despite it being a small building, it was a useful amenity. As an adult I have also used the facility, and it’s sad to see it go.
Let’s hope that the new sports complex being built at Ewingsdale will be world-class. That’s the promise anyway from Byron Shire Mayor Jan Barham.
The Shire needs this for the local residents, not the tourists. It might have a welcome tourism follow-on effect, but I for one would rather see improved amenities supportive of the Shire’s inhabitants rather than its visitors.