ACTIVISTS in Ocean Shores have declared 2013 as the year in which they have two major objectives realised.
The first is the preservation of the Roundhouse site for public use; the second is the development of sports fields at a Billinudgel block which Byron Shire Council has an option to buy.
“We’ve been waiting 40 years for both of these,” said Jan Mangelson, on behalf of the Ocean Shore Community Association (OSCA).
“This year they are very much on the agenda.”
First off is a meeting with council’s new general manager Ken Grange, who began in the position recently.
“We will be seeking the dedication of the Roundhouse site as a cultural precinct,” Ms Mangelson said.
The council has already knocked back moves to preserve the 1.33ha site in order to have it subdivided and sold for residential development – thereby putting a substantial figure in its coffers.
But Ms Mangelson said subdivision costs had gone up and land prices down.
Also, she said “credible witnesses say that drums of agricultural chemicals were put down a well on the site when it was a farm”.
“It’s not going to be easy to market this site for subdivision with a poisoned well on it,” she said.
OSCA wants to work with the council to create a public amenity and says it will not cost the council a penny.
“The council has $180,000 in s94 contributions that we would like to direct towards removing the chemicals from the well and turning it into an historical item of local significance,” Ms Mangelson said.
OSCA had also initiated a highly feasible business plan to erect a 22-unit motel on the site, along with an arts centre, which could be used for conferences and so on, she said.
“The council would still own it but would allow it to be run by the community,” she said.
The area had no public community or cultural space, she said.New space for sports is also desperately needed in the north of the shire.
“The Shores United Soccer Club has to share one small junior soccer field at New Brighton. There are no showers or change rooms, and the club is not allowed to use recently installed lighting until later in the season,” Ms Mangelson said.
OSCA is fundraising and holding a public awareness campaign at a pop-up gallery in the shopping zone.
Published in Byron Shire News, Thursday, 7th February, 2013: