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Byron Bay News

Keep an eye out for nesting sea turtles

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Green hatchling - Sea turtle nesting

Keep an eye out for nesting sea turtles

 

Christmas is around the corner and so is the sea turtle nesting season and beachgoers in the Byron Shire are being asked to keep an eye out and report any tracks they see.

Sea turtle nesting season on the NSW coastline runs from November to March.

“Recent tracks were found on Seven Mile Beach on the border of the Ballina and Byron Shires and while this female didn’t lay any eggs, the experts think she may have been looking for a nesting site,” Chloe Dowsett, Council’s Coast and Biodiversity Coordinator, said.

“It’s possible she will move towards a beach in the Byron Shire and if NSW Turtle Watch and Australian Seabird and Turtle Rescue are aware of a nest, they can put measures in place to protect it,” Ms Dowsett said.

Council is supporting NSW Turtle Watch which has the big job of promoting the long-term conservation and recovery of marine turtles in NSW.

Green hatchling - Sea turtle nesting

Green hatchling – Bryce Forrest

“Five species of sea turtles are found in the waters off the Byron Shire and some of these are endangered so it’s important we protect and support these wonderful animals,” Ms Dowsett said.

“If people see turtle tracks on the beach, they should take a photo and contact NSW Turtle Watch and report it,” she said.

Zoe White, Zoe White, Council’s Waste Education and Compliance Officer said picking up rubbish while walking on the beach is another way people can help turtles and other marine species.

“We are asking people to make an early New Year resolution and collect rubbish every time they go for a walk,” Ms White said.

“Whether the litter is on the beach, in the bush, or on the footpath, there’s a good chance that it will end up in the ocean so save a marine creature and pick it up before it gets there,” she said.

Information about NSW Turtle Watch is on the Australian Seabird and Turtle Rescue website.

 

For more environmental news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

HOUSING CRISIS IS A ‘PERFECT STORM’

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HOUSING CRISIS IS A ‘PERFECT STORM’

 

Almost half of the 6,400 residents expected to move to the Byron Shire in the 20 years to 2036 have arrived in the past five, with real estate agents and town planners calling for urgent action as the region’s housing crisis worsens.

Byron Shire Council’s Residential Strategy 2041 report, approved in March 2024, reveals the region has the highest homeless population in the state, with 300 people without a permanent place to live.

The problem is compounded by rental vacancies below two per cent and a sharp decline in properties available for purchase in Byron Shire, with average monthly listings across the North Coast dropping from 14,000 a decade ago to 6,500 per month last year.

In presenting Byron Shire’s Housing Options Paper late last year, Mayor Michael Lyon said the NSW Government had set Council a new target to deliver 4,522 homes for 8,590 people by 2041.

However, Nick Bordin, Principal of McGrath Lennox Head says it will be difficult to meet housing targets without activating ‘ready-to-go’ development sites, due to delays developers are facing with gaining approvals for construction.

“Developers are ready to start work but in many cases aren’t able to get construction certificates to create the lots that are already approved,” he said.

“The timeframe for already approved subdivisions to get to point of starting construction is years, and the wait for anything new is even longer.

“The housing crisis is real, with affordability issues on both the rental and sales front.

“Many of the homesites in approved developments that are being held-up are already sold to locals and first home buyers waiting to build a home.

“These delays have put pressure on the established housing market, escalating prices and keeping already limited supply at low levels.”

Principal of Byron Shire Real Estate Todd Buckland says a number of developers in the Shire are facing delays, despite having approvals in place and a waitlist of buyers ready to purchase land.

“Even developers who have checked every box required and gone above and beyond statutory requirements to ensure their project is environmentally sound are facing setbacks,” he said.

“The Northern Regional Planning Panel and Byron Shire Council are responsible for issuing approvals, but even after that process has been completed there have been instances of further hold ups.

“In some cases, we are seeing projects originally gazetted for development 10 years ago being stonewalled.

“The reality is, the longer we have to wait for new development, the more land values increase, and some people may miss their opportunity to remain a resident of the Byron Shire.”

Town planner Damian Chapelle of NDC says the housing crisis is a ‘perfect storm’ created by high demand and low supply, as well as roadblocks in planning legislation.

“Council reports show land prices have risen 76 per cent over the past five years, which has certainly exacerbated housing stress, but this is not the root cause of the problem,” he said.

“Put simply, we are in this position due to a severe imbalance between housing demand and supply. There has been a huge influx of residents, while new land release and housing density hasn’t kept pace with growth.”

To read about the Byron Shire Council’s Residential Strategy 2041 report, visit here.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

Byron Bay Drainage Upgrade Project – Detailed Design Begins

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Byron Bay Drainage Upgrade Project

Byron Bay Drainage Upgrade Project – Detailed Design Begins

 

The detailed design of the Byron Bay Drainage Upgrade Project has now begun, after Council adopted the concept design in February.

Byron Bay has a history of flooding during heavy rain, and this affects businesses and residents, this project aims to mitigate the flooding.

Chris Soulsby, Acting Manager Assets and Major Projects, said people may notice investigation work starting in Byron Bay, as part of the project.

“As part of formulating the detailed design, we will be drilling boreholes in late April/early May in the Byron Town Centre and Recreation Grounds areas. This process identifies soil types and ground conditions. Traffic management will be in place where required, while this work takes place,” Mr Soulsby said. “We will be giving people the opportunity to find out more about the project, throughout April and May,” he said.

Information sessions will be held, as follows:

  • Thursday 18 April at Byron Farmers Market from 7am to 11am.
  • Sunday 5 May at Byron Community Market from 8am to 3pm.
  • Thursday 9 May at Byron Farmers Market from 7am to 11am.

The upgrade to drainage is estimated to cost more than $40 million and will require construction to be staged.

The project is jointly funded by the NSW and Australian Governments, which includes $7 million of gravity drainage upgrades in the Town Centre Catchment, funded by the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

A further $11.8 million for the project was provided by the Australian Government through the Northern Rivers Recovery and Resilience Program (NRRRP), which is being administered by the NSW Reconstruction Authority. The aim of the NRRRP is to reduce the impact of future disasters to create a better position for communities to recover faster–this includes construction of the Sandhills Wetlands which will improve drainage and stormwater quality and other drainage measures.

While this is the first stage of the $40m Byron Bay Drainage Upgrade Project, more funds will be needed to complete construction of the remaining stages.

Information on this project is on Council’s website. People can also sign up to a newsletter.

 

For more Byron Bay news, click here.

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Ballina News

Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

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Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

Greens Unveil Ambitious Plan for Accessible Beaches in Northern Rivers

 

Representatives from the Greens across all levels of government have come together to launch an innovative initiative aimed at financing accessibility upgrades for local beaches.

This initiative comes in response to findings from Accessible Beaches, which indicate that not a single beach in the Northern Rivers region is fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The plan was officially introduced at Seven Mile Beach, where Joel Taylor, World Para Surfing Champion and 2023 Ballina Shire Citizen of the Year, joined the Greens for the announcement.

Abigail Boyd, NSW Greens spokesperson for Disability Rights and Inclusion, emphasised the urgent need for dedicated funding in the upcoming NSW budget to facilitate accessibility upgrades at beaches state-wide. Ms. Boyd advocated for an allocation of $25 million to assist councils in implementing these vital improvements.

Accompanied by Greens candidate for Richmond, Mandy Nolan, Ballina Shire Councillor Kiri Dicker, and Byron Shire Council candidate Elia Hauge, Ms. Boyd conducted an extensive tour of Northern Rivers beaches to assess accessibility firsthand.

In addition to seeking funding at the state level, the Greens are proactively engaging with local councils. Motions will be proposed in both Ballina and Byron Shire Councils to encourage greater disability access to their respective beaches. Furthermore, Mandy Nolan urged the federal Labor government to contribute funding towards this crucial cause.

Addressing the pressing issue, Abigail Boyd underscored the fundamental right of all individuals to access and enjoy the state’s pristine beaches. She criticized the historical neglect from various levels of government, which has resulted in the exclusion of people with disabilities from experiencing these natural wonders.

Mandy Nolan echoed these sentiments, expressing dismay over the lack of accessibility for older individuals and wheelchair users in the Richmond electorate. She called for proactive leadership and tangible solutions to rectify this longstanding issue.

Kiri Dicker emphasized the importance of universal design principles in creating inclusive public spaces, stressing that beach access should be available to all individuals regardless of their physical abilities.

Elia Hauge highlighted the comprehensive nature of accessible beach infrastructure beyond mere ramps or mats. She underscored the need for accessible parking, safe pathways, permanent beach wheelchairs, and adequate facilities to ensure inclusivity for the entire community.

In conclusion, the Greens reiterated their commitment to working across all levels of government to secure funding and accountability measures necessary to make Northern Rivers beaches fully accessible to individuals with disabilities.

 

For more local Ballina news, click here.

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