Byron’s A&I Estate looks to the future

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The Byron Arts and Industry (A&I) Estate was developed in the early 1970s and by 1975 there were businesses established and operating in what was then an isolated, industrial area well away from the heart of town.

In 1972 there were only some 2,500 people living in Byron Bay and only a handful of people in Suffolk Park. The town’s industry was shifting from butter and a meatworks, to sandmining. A block of land at Wategos Beach was selling for as little as $2,300.

Fast forward 47 years and just like Byron Bay, the A&I Estate has evolved into an eclectic mix of businesses and residential uses which has brought vitality to the area.

But the changes have also created challenges and Byron Shire Council is starting work on designing what the Byron A&I Estate will look like in the future.

Major projects planner Rob van Iersel said staff are working with a team of local and national experts including Hip V Hype Sustainability.

They want to hear the ideas, thoughts and visions of people who work, live, or support businesses in the area. This information will be used to develop the Byron Arts and Industry Estate Precinct Plan.

‘This is such an exciting project because the Byron A&I Estate is so different to industrial areas in other towns – it is such a mix of businesses and uses and it has a vitality that is unique,’ Mr van Iersel said.

‘We know we need to look at traffic and access issues but we also need to think about the mix of land uses going forward and consider what people want the A&I Estate to look like in the future,’ he said.

The A&I Estate Precinct Plan will look at land use options and infrastructure requirements such as parking, traffic, and movement.

The project is being launched on Monday, March 4, in room C5 at the Habitat commercial precinct between 9:30am and 3:30pm. Anybody with an interest in the future of the Estate, including business owners, workers, residents and property owners is invited to drop in during this time to share their thoughts and ideas about what makes the A&I Estate ‘tick’, what they think the problems are, and how they can be fixed.

An intensive, two-day Enquiry by Design workshop involving land/business owners and residents will also be held during April.

For people who can’t get to this drop-in session – feedback and ideas can be submitted at www.yoursaybyronshire.com.au/byron-arts-and-industry-estate. Alternatively give Rob van Iersel or Isabelle Hawton a call on 6626 7000 or email rvaniersel@byron.nsw.gov.au.

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