To many, the Byron Shire is synonymous with success, thanks to the incubation of a range of specialised small to medium businesses across industry sectors.
Yet, our region’s residents have low median weekly incomes and, in terms of increasing business and industry opportunities, we have reached a juncture. How do we satisfy the land requirements of existing business as they move to the next level? How do we accommodate new entrepreneurs in search of creative influences and lifestyle choice?
The desirability of our location places us in the unique position of having to meet the needs of a growing population not only in Byron Shire but also across the Northern Rivers and South East Queensland, all whilst retaining the integrity of our unique natural setting, productive farmland, and distinctive towns, villages and industrial areas.
Byron’s unique natural setting, strong local identity and emerging innovative industries have seen:
- economy growth at a marginally faster rate than the rest of regional NSW and the Northern Rivers
- relatively strong business and job growth
- a focus on tourism, lifestyle, clean and green produce, health and wellbeing and entrepreneurship
- quick responsiveness of business to consumer trends in food production, retailing, tourism, workplace opportunities and global trends.
Our businesses inject economic benefits into the area by employing residents and providing broader economic spin-offs to the region and Australia. If this is to be maintained, we need to be perceptive in how we plan for future land and/or floor space needs. Without action, we will see increased business costs negatively influence the viability of both incumbent businesses and new entrants to the market. It is essential to keep pace by meeting the needs of a growing and diversifying population and a buoyant economy.
The Byron Shire has a fixed land base, constrained by ocean, natural barriers and farmland. It is the centre of the Northern Rivers. The ‘Byron’ brand is a strong entity in the region and globally. Our businesses are well informed; taking hold of technological opportunities to regionalise and globalise. This is strengthening the economic base our town and village centres without compromising their integrity. It is redefining our industrial estates, evolving from isolated industrial areas into lively hubs of innovation, industry and creativity.
This Business and Industrial Lands Strategy is part of a new way of thinking to facilitate and accommodate future business and industrial zoned land. It is designed to take us up to - and into - the second half of the 21st century.
The aim of this strategy is to ensure that the Byron Shire has business centres and industrial areas that work for people, commerce and the environment.
Five key directions are proposed, aiming to free up local space for businesses that need to be local such as tourism and urban service providers:
- Direction 1: Enable business centres to retain an individual identity and fulfil their potential.
- Direction 2: Improve the use of existing industrial areas for industrial and urban services.
- Direction 3: Secure a sustainable long-term supply of suitable industrial lands.
- Direction 4: Promote an attractive investment environment with people-friendly industrial areas and business centres.
- Direction 5: Improve infrastructure in business centres and industrial areas.
This strategy sets out suitable land and design principles needed to manage business and industrial land for a sustainable future. It also provides guidance on knowledge- and creative-industry precincts, co-operative business and innovation hubs, and development close to Byron Central Hospital.
This strategy outlines 24 specific actions to meet its core aim, along with plans for monitoring and review.
Overall, this Business and Industrial Lands Strategy promotes opportunities for Byron Shire Council to manage business and industrial land development in a way that supports the community’s desire to leave a better place for future generations of residents and workers.