(From left) Christopher Woodward, Shanon Robb, Lora-Jean Damen and Sabrina Major model the clothes for the new fashion event Threads which will take place at the Back Alley Gallery. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star
(From left) Christopher Woodward, Shanon Robb, Lora-Jean Damen and Sabrina Major model the clothes for the new fashion event Threads which will take place at the Back Alley Gallery. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star Marc Stapelberg

Lismore has diversity Byron had and wants to keep it

IF Lismore wants to retain its cultural diversity and vibrancy future development plans need to ensure people on low incomes can afford to remain in the city.

Green’s state government spokesperson for housing, Ms Jan Barham, made the comment in discussion with The Lismore Echo, upon the release of Anglicare’s annual snapshot into housing affordability.

While Lismore saw a drop in properties available to households on low incomes, according to the report, the city still offered more affordable housing than its regional neighbours of Ballina and Byron Bay.

Lismore still has all the ingredients people once moved to Byron Bay to experience and the council should be mindful “when they approve new developments there is a compliment of socially inclusive housing to ensure there remains a demographic mix in the area.”

“I have watched the gentrification of Byron Bay and how it has marginalised the long term residents of the town who can no longer afford to there live there,” she said.

“They have had to move further out and what people have to understand is that this changes the region, “ said Ms Barham.

People on high incomes move to the area because of its beauty but “what is not taken into account is the people who made the place beautiful in the first place by making it exciting, giving it a sense of community and cultural diversity,” she said.

These “homogenous developments that cater to the yuppy dream” are about profit offering no social benefits.

Ms Barham said it is a fact people on lower incomes engage with their surroundings for love not money. Artisans, ecologists, environmentalists and performers are more often than not also the volunteers who give back to their communities.

“You do not see the same thing from those in higher incomes brackets, and that is just the way it is.”

Matt Towner of Remax Coastal Living said the new Eco Village of Altitude 2480 in Goonellabah is in stage one of development and has been designed with affordability in mind.

Entry price was $250-$260k for a one bed style apartments designed with solar power, permaculture gardens, rain water systems.

Lots was planned for Lismore with the new highway, making it more accessible to the wider Northern Rivers, but acknowledged “the growing vibrant community with its alternative bent and University required affordable housing.

“Adding an eco village to that culture is very exciting and will renew that whole area for the better of all involved,” he said. 

Lismore Mayor, Jenny Dowell, said the council was aware housing affordability was a challenge for both renters and buyers.

“We are fortunate to be on the brink of increased supply in 5 new developments that will improve choice and affordability. We also have a $20,000 cash rebate for eligible purchasers of 200 blocks for new houses in these locations. Anyone earning less than approximately $84,000 pa interested in building a new home should check it out with Council via our Build Your Future package.”

Council has also waived or reduced many fees associated with secondary dwellings or granny flats, shop to housing and medium density options. We are really keen to see increased variety of housing including smaller dwellings on smaller blocks.

All these options help the supply and affordability of housing.



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