'We don't want 200 houses on our sporting fields'
CONCERNED Mullumbimby residents poured into Byron Shire Council meeting today in an effort to save their sporting fields.
The council is proposing to rezone the recreational land on Stuart Street to residential land to make way for an affordable housing lot.
Mullumbimby resident Karl Allen said he has two major concerns around the proposed rezoning - lack of recreational land in Mullumbimby and the implications of building on a flood plain.
"We're against the Byron Shire proposal to rezone sports fields to residential," Mr Allen said.
"We've got nothing against affordable housing, the problem is they are stealing our sports lands of the future and it is a very flood prone land that is going to affect a lot of people."
Mr Allen said the council's draft Recreational Needs Assessment Report, on which they based their decision, was flawed.
"There were only 124 people from Mullumbimby surveyed," Mr Allen said.
"The report was contradictory, because in the report it also said they need to create a masterplan to create all these things for BMX tracks, extra netball courts, all the things the community wants but they also said it was excess to requirements."
The report also stated that all sporting clubs in the area were contacted for consultation, but Mr Allen said he did not think this was true.
"We've contacted all the sports clubs and no one has been contacted about that," he said.
Following the extensive flooding some Mullumbimby residents experienced March 2017, they said they were also worried about the impact of filling this flood prone land.
Mr Allen said he was concerned that this proposal was on the table considering the North Byron Floodplain Risk Management Study and Plan was still yet to be finalised.
"The floods in 2017 were quite dramatic there were a lot of houses that have never been flooded before and they haven't addressed any of that," he said.
While this proposal has not reached public submission yet, it has already created a lot of anxiety for residents in the area.
"Council has continued to allow the contribution free secondary dwellings, which was to solve the shire's affordable housing crisis, but this has never been enforced," Mr Allen said.
"If you free up all these secondary dwellings as was to be the case, there wouldn't be need for 200 houses on our sports fields."