Byron Shire Mayor, Michael Lyon, has described today’s announcement of a $1.2 million grant from the NSW Government for the redevelopment of the old Byron Bay Hospital site as a “game changer” for the town.
“On behalf of the Council, a big thank you to Deputy Premier, Paul Toole, for supporting this important project, and to Ben Franklin, Minister for Tourism, Regional Youth, Aboriginal Affairs and the Arts, who has been behind this project since the beginning,” said Mayor Lyon.
Council bought the 3,000m2 site on the fringe of the CBD in 2019 for $1 with the aim of turning the property into a multi-use community space.
“When the new Byron Central Hospital at Ewingsdale opened the community could immediately see the potential of the old hospital site and a steering committee was formed in 2018 and it worked with Council and the former Mayor, Simon Richardson to lobby the NSW Government to give the land to the community rather than sell it to a developer,” Mayor Lyon said.
“What followed was a considered, articulate and well thought out campaign and proposal, driven by community leaders, with the vision to offer education, community and commercial opportunities specifically aimed at building the capacity of local people, especially youth.”
Specifically, the redeveloped site will have three main precincts:
- Education precinct which will be home to one of Australia’s leading universities;
- Community precinct providing access to essential services such as mental health, family support and youth services;
- Commercial precinct offering professional space for socially minded health, wellbeing, and other businesses and potentially a social enterprise cafe.
The project recently received development consent and Council is hoping the building will be finished and open in early 2024.
“The $1.2 million grant from the NSW Government’s Strong Country Communities Fund will go towards construction costs,” Mayor Lyon said.
“Everyone knows the cost of real estate and commercial rent in Byron Bay and this project means Council can provide an accessible space for services and industries that have been priced out of town for years.”
Once the redevelopment is complete, the site will be managed by Social Futures.
Information about the redevelopment of the hospital site is on Council’s website.