Hunt to aid homeless
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
JOHN LAZARUS has launched a search for a site to house Byron Bay's homeless population.
The Byron Shire councillor was unsuccessful in gaining enough support for a proposal to convert the town's museum reserve in Ewingsdale Road into a homeless campsite, but other locations in the area are now being investigated.
Cr Lazarus said that when more than 40 people were evicted from Crown land at the Sandhills Estate near Clarks Beach in July many were left to wander the streets.
He guessed about 75 were now scattered through the town and sleeping everywhere, from shop fronts to bushland.
"Last year two homeless people died on the street in town. One behind the library and one in a bus shelter," he said.
"During the drought none of these people had anywhere to shower. We need to provide a place for them with basic facilities."
Cr Lazarus said he was not too disappointed by the lack of support he received from his fellow councillors for the Ewingsdale Road proposal.
"I think it could've been done there," he said.
"But there was a lot of support from councillors to carry on looking for somewhere to set this up."
All councillors except mayor Jan Barham (absent), Ross Tucker and Bob Tardif supported a motion to have council staff prepare a list of possible sites for a homeless camping ground.
Cr Tucker said it was not the council's role to find accommodation for homeless people.
"It is not the responsibility of local government, it is a State and Federal responsibility," he said.
"We haven't got the budget. To do something like this we'd need a minimum of $10 million."