Fate of Wategos Beach undecided

ONE of the most exclusive blocks of land in Australia may be turned into an affordable housing development for local Aboriginal people.

The fate of the 4000m{+2} parcel of land at Byron Bay’s Wategos Beach is still being debated by the Arakwal Corporation.

The Brownell Drive site was given to the Arakwal people as part of a native title handover in 2007.

It is zoned for residential use.

Arakwal Corporation spokeswoman Yvonne Stewart said they were still deciding what to do with the land.

She said affordable housing for Bundjalung people was one option being considered.

“We’re still having discussions with various planners and to see what the site could be used for and how we could maybe provide housing for our people,” she said.

“We’re still having discussions with various interest groups and still talking to council about whether there are developmental possibilities, or whether selling it is the best option.”

If affordable housing is the chosen option, it will be built on what is possibly the most unaffordable block of land on the Northern Rivers.

Prestige property expert Graham Dunn, of Byron Bay Property Sales, said the land could be worth more than $20 million, depending on how the site was divided up.

The most expensive block sold at Wategos so far was a site opposite luxury hotel Rae’s on Wategos, which was bought for $16 million.

Meanwhile, rumours have been rife around Byron Bay about developers who have shown interest in buying the site.

Those reported to have their eyes on the land include the Trivest Group, which was involved in the redevelopment of the South Sydney Leagues Club with Russell Crowe, and the CEO of the Sterling Group of Companies, Patrick Yu.

Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham has insisted the land is bound by regular planning rules and any plans for the site would be subject to public consultation.

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