The opening of the Roundhouse in 1969.
The opening of the Roundhouse in 1969. Contributed

Ocean Shores wins Roundhouse respite

OCEAN Shores residents claimed a small victory for community yesterday when they won a rep-rieve by Byron Shire Council on the endorsement of a plan to subdivide the Roundhouse site.

“We are very pleased to have had a stay of execution, and to be able to throw the issue open to the public,” Ocean Shores Art Expo president Ri Fraser said.

“We’ve been given some time to hear from them about what they would like to see there,” she said.

The Roundhouse site is a little over two hectares of prime realestate which council wants tosubdivide and sell in order torecoup some of the nearly $4 million it has poured into it in the past two decades.

But the community association and other groups want the landretained for possible future development as a regional art gallery, or some other community and culture-focused venue.

Former Byron councillors Jan Mangelson and Frank Mills have been tireless advocates for keeping the block for public use.

Mr Mills and Ms Fraser yesterday called for the council to allow time for proper public consultation.

The development application for the proposed subdivision dated back to 2001, but the community hadn’t been consulted since 1994, Ms Fraser said.

“And then people voted overwhelmingly for it to stay as community use,” she said.

“Without community consultation, this proposition is lacking in due process.

“You ought not sell this site for cash. To our community it is worth much more than money could buy.”

Mayor Jan Barham said she couldn’t think of a worse place to put an art gallery.

“The council needs to sell these lots to get back some of the $3.9 million investment of the past,” she said.

But Ms Mangelson said the‘investment’ was actually losses caused by council’s bungling in the 1990s, including a court battle that cost it millions of dollars.

Councillors agreed to attend a community meeting in Ocean Shores on May 24, and to report back.



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