Kyogle Council anxiously awaits its fate
KYOGLE Council is anxiously awaiting its fate by the sweeping hand of the State Government after failing a single measure on which councils are judged "fit for the future".
With 9550 residents it falls 450 short of the 10,000 needed to pass the "scale and capacity" criteria of the new rules and looks headed for forced amalgamation with either Tweed, Lismore or Richmond Valley.
450 new residents needed
Determined to avoid this fate, Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland said the district could easily surpass 10,000 in the next few years.
Admittedly the population is projected to grow by only 50 people in the next 15 years according to contestable data from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
But the mayor said those figures were less reliable than a long-range weather forecast. She also added that Kyogle was a "hidden jewel" set for a boom.
Kyogle shire is a hidden jewel
"We're undiscovered, (but) right at the edge of being discovered, and people who invest here I think will see their money grow," Cr Mulholland said.
"Our housing is affordable and it stays at a fairly consistent price. I'm talking really affordable housing - $250,000 in Kyogle.
"We're two hours from Brisbane, an hour from the beach; it's perfect for a treechange.
"There's cracking places all over the LGA.
"We've got a $15 million multi-purpose (health) centre opening in Bonalbo, Woodenbong is the most beautiful close-knit community right near the border, Tabulam is right on the river, Mallanganee has the most spectacular views, and then there's Kyogle itself.
"I like to think of it as an unfinished painting just waiting to be completed."
Tree changers moving in
Local real estate agent Doug Allan said all of the current sales he was finalising were with people relocating from outside the region from as far away as Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
"The main crux of Kyogle (for buyers) is that they can't believe how pretty it is, how centrally located we are to get to Brisbane and the beach, but we're still living a laid back life," Mr Allan said.
He said sales were spread across treechangers looking for lifestyle properties, investors, intra-regional locals moving from neighbouring councils, and farmers hunting larger income-producing farms.
"It's not an overcomplicated lifestyle (and) we've got all our services, banks, police stations, medical care, without a big crime rate."
Extraordinary council meeting
Cr Mulholland said she was waiting for a letter from Local Government Minister Paul Toole before an extraordinary council meeting on Monday.
"Presumably it's a letter providing us advice about how we should proceed.
"I know there's other councils that are appealing, but that will be something I will discuss with council about whether we go down that road."
If so, she said Kyogle would certainly argue their population was likely to exceed the crucial 10,000 figure.