Byron wants land for caravan park

Caravans coming: Byron Shire Council is looking to buy land to create a new caravan park.
Caravans coming: Byron Shire Council is looking to buy land to create a new caravan park. Obelia McCormack

TWO councils on the Northern Rivers seem to be taking two radically different approaches to the issue of caravan parks.

While Lismore City Council staff have recommended the council close its Tourist Caravan Park, Byron Shire Council is looking for land to create new ones.

Byron Shire Councillor Patrick Morrisey is behind a call for expressions of interest from private landowners to provide land for a mixture of tourist accommodation and affordable housing.

The council is hoping owners of one hectare of reasonably flat land will consider listing their sites.

“Ideally the land will be close to services, public transport and have enough space for the inclusion of a community garden,” it has said.

The Lismore van park had become the ‘CBD’s default low-cost housing option for economically disadvantaged community members’, a report to the council noted.

All Byron councillors had supported the initiative to find land for transition and affordable housing, Byron mayor Jan Barham said.

“This is a proactive move by Cr Morrisey to put it out there to see if anyone isinterested in helping us,” she said.

Cr Barham said the parks would fit in with the council’s desire to provide affordable housing.

“There is an argument for mixing tourism with longer-term residential,” Cr Morrisey said.

The caravan park at Suffolk Park was a good example of what he had in mind, he said.

“It has 100 sites, about 20 of which are occupied by long-term residents. I believe it is the same at Brunswick Heads,” he said.

Cr Morrisey said several blocks of council land had been identified for such use, including two within walking distance of the shops in Mullumbimby and one in Suffolk Park.

“But it is not easy to find land in Byron Shire that ticks all the boxes,” he said.

He believed his proposals would have backing within the community.

“Caravan parks and managed home estates have the potential to provide housing for low-income earners and the elderly,” he said.

Expressions of interest close on May 19.

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