Tiny homes welcome in Byron, but not vanpackers: Councillor
TINY houses have been welcomed by one Byron Shire councillor as a innovative approach to help alleviate homelessness, but he said the concept was a different conversation to the on-going debate about vanpackers.
Cr Paul Spooner said tiny houses, while they can be transportable, were designed to be more permanent dwellings situated in different areas compared to vanpackers, who were more transient in their living arrangements.
"(Tiny homes) are not being built to be dragged around like caravans," Cr Spooner said.
He has considered reigniting discussions held at the council a few years ago about how sporting ovals and other expanses of public land could be utilised to house vanpackers at a suitable price.
Those conversations fell through due to financial reasons and pressures on existing amenities at those facilities.
Talk of fines not working as a deterrent highlighted why Cr Spooner said the council needed "to look at management of (vanpackers) rather than a big stick".
He said it was "a two way street" in terms responsibility of the council to make provisions for vanpackers as well as the nomadic travellers ensuring they are camping in a legal area.
What is clear, Cr Spooner said, is that the problem isn't going away. And neither is the problem of affordable housing, with Cr Spooner on board to attend and speak at a tiny houses workshop next month.
He made clear Tiny Houses was not the answer to the local affordable housing crisis but the movement could suit a "niche market" already exploring the alternative in the Byron Shire.
Founder and owner of Fred's Tiny Houses, Fred Schultz, said his nationwide tour to showcase the initiative aimed to pave the way for change the law for tiny homes provisions.
The Victorian-based business owner said collaborations with local councils was the start to driving state and nationwide change.
"You have to agitate for change and you do that from the grassroots upwards," Mr Schultz said.
Byron Shire's support for tiny houses comes as Lismore City Council voted to actively seek expressions of interest from Tiny House providers as part of "the affordable housing mix" in the expenditure of its $3 million from the Building Better Regions fund.
The two-day workshops will cover regulations that dictate where and how to build tiny houses as well as how to best live in a smaller space and reducing your environmental impact.
Fred's Tiny Houses workshops wil be held in Byron Bay on November 4 and 5 at Encounter.
To secure your place, visit the Fred's Tiny Houses website.