Big Bangalow Changes Coming Up
BANGALOW is feeling the winds of change with several new project proposals for the town.
President of the Bangalow Progress Association Tony Hart said the proposed developments could see the town, “as we know and love it” change forever.
The RMS is beginning a Lismore to Bangalow corridor strategy and there are major changes planned at 32-34 Byron Street including excavation for a new car park and the addition of three motel style rooms for short stay accommodation.
There are also two proposals on the cards regarding food hubs, one is a Byron Council initiative for the now redundant RMS site on the new highway and a recent 20-acre proposal seeking DA approval on a 65-acre plot opposite the existing Bangalow Industrial area.
Developer of the $23.5m project, Bart Elias, said his development will employ around 170 people from the beginning of construction if approved.
“We want this to be a showpiece for a green and clean agri-business centre,” he said. “We will continue to work with the community and council to develop the site.”
Mr Elias and town planner Paul De Fina said the initial impetus for the development came from food manufacturers Brookfarm and Salumi Salami. There are also suggestions that the Byron Bay Cookie company could locate at the site.
“These companies want to stay in the region and are looking to consolidate their operations here,” said Mr De Fina. “Their people have jobs and careers here and they do not want to move it all out of the area.”
The development will consist of at least 2 buildings of around 5,000sqm and will include a number of smaller commercial kitchens for seasonal type cottage businesses. Some locals are concerned at the prospect of extra truck traffic and noise.
“Our traffic study indicates there will be negligible effect on traffic in the area,” said Mr De Fina. “Any suggestion that there will be large trucks on Byron Street in Bangalow are just not true.”
Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said the size of the development meant it would be decided by the Joint Regional Planning Panel and not by Council.
“Though the need to provide space for our larger food based business is clearly evident, it is disappointing that the community has been sidelined by taking this application out of Council’s hands,” said Cr Richardson. “In Council’s hands and with great community engagement we could promote and support aspects of what occurs on the site that are beautiful, sustainable, locally focused and supports our community.
“The businesses wishing to be on this site are first rate, we need to ensure the whole site if it happens as just as impressive as its tenants.”
Mr Hart said the issue for the Progress Association was the project’s size, “up to six times the size of the Eden Country Store Warehouse opposite,” he said. “Our reservations go back our original ‘Have your say’ survey with respondents overwhelmingly saying they wanted Bangalow to maintain its heritage village feel and that the the town should not expand beyond its original boundaries and any expansion needs to be carefully designed and thought through.
Council’s economic development and tourism co-ordinator, Jane Laverty, said the potential Food and Innovation Park for the Bangalow RMS site was still on the table.
“Staff are talking with the State Government, as the landowners, about the future uses of the site,” she said. “Our shire needs employment lands to help retain our current local businesses and attract new companies to provide jobs for our community, particularly young people. The Bangalow site could help meet those needs.”