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Affordable housing units by the sea

"I watched Byron Bay slowly change. The developers moved in to make a quick buck."

by Susanna Freymark, 08/13/2021, 1 min read

Claire Rankin

AN AFFORDABLE housing development in the heart of Evans Head should be complete by the end of next year, according to manager Tom Ingham.

Mr Ingham said rumours the site would be developed as backpacker accommodation were untrue.

The development of a boarding house, units and townhouses at 11–13 Park St is designed to provide housing for the long-term.

“The whole idea was to provide affordable housing for the community,” he said.

Mr Ingham has witnessed the exponential growth of Byron Bay for 29 years.

“I watched Byron Bay slowly change. The developers moved in to make a quick buck,” he said.

He moved to Evans Head about four years ago.

After his family company, Walter Corporation, bought the vacant block of land for about $1.1 million, Richmond Valley Council approved a subdivision to create two lots in July last year.

On the first lot, it approved plans to build a kiosk and boarding house of seven one-bedroom fully furnished units including one with disability access.

The kiosk, which would probably be used as a coffee shop, “adds more of a community feel”, Mr Ingham said.

On the larger lot, seven split-level terraced units of one to three bedrooms are being built, as well as two townhouses with two bedrooms – all with strata title.

Strata title allows the units and town houses to be sold separately, but Mr Ingham said they had “no intention of selling at the moment”.

The project was designed to minimise impact on the community.

Completion of the project is uncertain at this stage because “the building industry is in a lot of turmoil at the moment”, he said.

Timber and skilled tradespeople are in short supply and the price of steel has increased substantially.