Byron Shire Council to buy old Byron Hospital site for $1
Published on 23 November 2018
A community proposal to return the old Byron Bay Hospital site to locals has been accepted by the NSW Government and welcomed whole-heartedly by Byron Shire Council.
Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, said the old hospital site was in a prime location and has the capacity to be a valuable and vital space for the community with potential to deliver much-needed programs focused on helping and promoting the well-being of local residents.
“The offer to buy the site comes after community leaders approached Council at the beginning of this year, asking for our support in lobbying the NSW Government to have the property returned to community use rather than being sold.
“While the NSW Government’s decision to sell this property to Council for the very reasonable sum of $1 is a bargain, its potential to be used for the benefit the community is priceless,” Mayor Richardson said.
“In the 10 years I have been involved in Local Government this is one of the best outcomes I have seen and this is because this whole project has been driven by the community in true partnership with Council and state representatives and I really congratulate Chris Hanley and his team for their efforts, the GM for his commitment and to Tamara Smith and Ben Franklin for their unwavering advocacy” he said.
Chris Hanley, spokesperson for the community steering group, said keeping the old hospital, with its history and connections, and converting it into a vibrant community space was a great win.
“In a town like Byron Bay, where we have so many visitors, there is still a very strong local community and we brought together a diverse group of local people who all worked towards the common goal to secure the hospital site for the local community,” Mr Hanley said.
“My thanks to the Council and our state politicians across the political spectrum for working with us to open dialogue and advocate on our behalf.
“There is no way we would be at this point without the help of Ben Franklin. He has been part of this process from the very beginning and has been able to provide access and advocacy for us all the way up to the Premier“ Mr Hanley said.
Mayor Simon Richardson said that throughout this process, we have had people willing to put personal preferences aside to back an outcome that provides wide community benefit.
“What we are potentially providing the State Government with is a pilot project that it can use to illustrate what can happen with old infrastructure if it works with the community, and a model that can be rolled out across the rest of the state,” he said.
Contract negotiations for Council to take ownership of the site will now begin. The future management and use of the hospital site will be determined over the coming 12 months – the proposal to the State Government was centred on a community hub with affordable rental accommodation for welfare, health, education and cultural sectors organisations.
For more information contact Byron Shire Mayor, Simon Richardson, on 0427 076 834, or Chris Hanley on 0419 662 338.