Affordable rental homes launched in Murwillumbah

Tweed Shire Council partnership to deliver 52 affordable homes

Mayor of Tweed Councillor Katie Milne helped launch the first of 22 affordable rental houses to be built at Hundred Hills, Murwillumbah, on Wednesday 24 February 2016.

The launch signalled the culmination of five years’ work in delivering a share of the federal government’s $100 million Better Regional Cities Program to the Tweed.

affordableHousing_160827_640 Photo: Mayor of Tweed Cr Katie Milne and Horizon Housing Chief Executive Officer Jason Cubit launch the not-for-profit’s first rental house in Murwillumbah.

“Housing affordability is a very real issue here in the Tweed and Council is happy to have been able to support this initiative and make an affordable house available to a family in need,” Cr Milne said at the launch.

The project came after a January 2011 study, in which the then federal government had identified the Tweed as an area where house prices were unaffordable.  This prompted Council to partner with the not-for-profit group Horizon Housing and apply for funds under the program to build affordable housing in the shire.

The partnership secured $8.36 million in funds to build 52 homes at Hundred Hills; 30 to be sold and 22 to be retained by Horizon Housing for renting.

By May 2014, all roads and stormwater, water and sewer connections, electricity and recreational spaces were in place.

“The grant funds for the 52 lots enabled construction of the infrastructure for the whole development, fast tracking
the release of 178 lots, including the 52 earmarked for affordable housing,” Council’s Director Engineering David Oxenham said.

Of the 52 lots held by Horizon Housing, 25 of the 30 for sale have sold under a discounted mortgage scheme where Horizon Housing retains a 25 per cent interest in the property at no cost to the buyer until or unless the house is on-sold.

22 properties have been retained by Horizon Housing for renting.  The first house was launched ready for tenants in late February, with the second due to be finished by the end of March, and construction on seven more is due to start.

Both buyers and renters must meet eligibility criteria to join the affordable housing scheme and should contact
Horizon Housing direct for more information.

Courtesy Tweed Shire Council Newsroom 

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Kingscliff ranked among top 10 seachange towns in Australia

Kingscliff is officially on the map after being ranked number four in a list of top 10 seachange towns, ahead of Byron Bay located to the south, and Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

Kingscliff_090816_640 Photo: © courtesy Tweed Shire Council

Another local Northern Rivers community, Lennox Head, located between Byron Bay and Ballina, came in at number seven.

‘Trading Places –the Best Australian Seachange Towns 2016’ features in Melbourne-based national online newspaper The New Daily.

The results were:
1. Noosa Heads, Queensland (43.25 points)
2. Terrigal, New South Wales (42.25)
3. Warrnambool, Victoria (41)
4. Kingscliff, New South Wales (40.5)
5. Byron Bay, New South Wales (40)
6. Port Douglas, Queensland (40)
7. Lennox Head, New South Wales (39)
8. Busselton, Western Australia (38.75)
9. Albany, Western Australia (38.5)
10. Geraldton, Western Australia (38.5)

Two expert consultants – a town planner and an urban geographer – weighed up the merits of large regional hubs or hidden coastal gems across Australia located close to a capital city.

(Big Volcano ed. note: We’re not quite sure how Port Douglas made it in that case, being more than 1700 klm from the state capital – Brisbane.  Maybe they were thinking of Cairns.)

Anyway, they whittled down the options using 11 criteria, including beach quality, house prices, infrastructure, climate and job prospects.

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, was not surprised by Kingscliff’s appeal as a seachange destination.  “Kingscliff is much-loved by locals, who are passionate about preserving the natural environment as well as the laid-back and friendly nature of the town,” she said.

According to the article: “Residents describe the town as having the ‘best of both worlds’: a peaceful, picturesque community that’s just a 15-minute drive to Gold Coast Airport, and a 90-minute trip to Brisbane.”

“It boasts several stunning beaches cradled between headlands, and luscious rainforests on its doorstep.

“Foodies take note: the main street offers tantalising cafes and restaurants, and the Kingscliff markets brim with gourmet food and fresh local produce, as well as crafts, art and fashion.”

To view the article and watch a video on how the selections were made, go to
http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/trading-places-2016/

Courtesy Tweed Shire Council Newsroom

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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Map, Big Volcano towns : Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Ballina and Lennox Head.

Adding colour to the art of skate

Murwillumbah’s new Knox Park skate facility is now open and attracting skaters of all ages and experience levels to the area.

Local skate shop owner and graffiti artist Tony Lawrence has been engaged by Council to undertake an urban art project on the park and said he had seen it gain huge popularity in a short length of time.

“Our skate park has a great vibe and is attracting a variety of community members, from young families to professional skateboarders,” Mr Lawrence said.

Pharside_Skate_Shop_115606_640
Photo:  Pharside Skate Shop owner and graffiti artist Tony Lawrence with Urban artwork plans for Murwillumbah’s new Knox Park skate facility, and local skater Michael Mitchell getting some air.

Knox Park facility attracts keen skaters of all ages

“The modern facility caters for all levels of ability and will be sure to produce some new local talent.”

Council’s Landscape Architect, Ian Bentley, helped designed the Youth Precinct and said Mr Lawrence would create a total of three different artworks that would give the half-pipes and bowls a local touch.   “The works are to go on the exposed retaining walls throughout the skate park, and the main one will capture some of the Tweed’s local natural assets,” Mr Bentley said.

“If all goes to plan, Tony will be able to start work in late February.”

Mayor of Tweed Councillor Katie Milne said: “Skaters say this skate park is ‘sick’. Council takes the job of bringing more fun to town very seriously so we’re stoked with the ‘sick’ endorsement.”

“The graffiti art project will be awesome too – it’s going to really liven up the place and show off scenes of our natural assets in a new, cool and very vibrant light.”

The skate park is part of the first stage of a $1.2 million upgrade to Knox Park, funded by a $250,000 donation from the Lions Club of Murwillumbah, a $500,000 Regional Development Australia grant from the Federal Government and $500,000 from Council.

Stage 1 also includes an adventure playground, new shelters, barbecue facilities and pathways, which was completed and opened late last year.  Council is planning an official opening of the Youth Precinct later this year.

For more information visit www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/knoxparkupgrade

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See also: Katch Periscope video Knox Park Skate Park, January 2016.

Sunday Summary #travelbiz

Welcome to the first Sunday Summary for #travelbiz posts and shares across the Big Volcano social media networks, based on what interested us, and what our Facebook and Google Plus colleagues thought was interesting enough to like or share as well.

bbutclda Photo: Border Ranges National Park, © by Big Volcano Tourism

This is an In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) and might also amount to being TL:DR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read) post.

These items are from our Facebook, Google Plus Byron Bay or Google Plus Big Volcano Tourism Marketing & Media pages.

From January 28th: One of my favourite curated papers: Travel Tech Weekly Insights http://ow.ly/XwyZv #travelbiz #tech

And this post on Jan 31st was popular: How Turkey Home Grew Its Facebook Presence by 3 Million Followers Last Year http://ow.ly/XCOqD #travelbiz #destinationmarketing

From February 3rd: Don’t Believe Media Placements Are Impossible: Success Secrets Revealed http://ow.ly/XSb0n #travelbiz #marketingbiz  This is an excellent reminder that online isn’t the only game in town for marketing and promotions.

If you’re a Tour Guide, this food tourism article from Feb 10th will be of interest if you’re not already tapping into the growing “ foodie” market: ICYMI: 6 Charts Showing State of Food Tourism With Tour Operators http://ow.ly/Y6bYv #travelbiz #foodies

And here’s one for the locals, on 14th Feb; Gold Coast No.5 on trips across the ditch for Kiwis, with Melbourne and Sydney topping the list http://ow.ly/YeNNd #travelbiz #visitbigvolcano #goldcoast

Where would we be without an article about an OTA’s methods? Shared on Feb 28th;

Expedia Relentlessly Tests the Science of User Experience and Vacation Planning http://ow.ly/YOECd #travelbiz #OTAs #marketingscience  The wide ranging article not only provides insights about the current practices and future direction of Expedia, but probably of the online travel industry generally.  Well worth the 5-10 minute reading time.

On Mar 5th, there was another article about Google removing CPC ads from search results. > Google’s Move Away From Right-Rail Ads: The Hotel Marketer’s Action Plan http://ow.ly/Z68xk #travelbiz  with the rather startling observation that, “the average travel consumer takes about 17 days, eight research sessions, 18 site visits, and six clicks before making a hotel booking (Google Research).”

It went on to say that “…a successful multichannel campaign that includes SEO, SEM GDN, mobile marketing, social media, online media and retargeting, dynamic rate marketing and email marketing reaches potential guests at every touchpoint of the travel planning process with one cohesive message across channels, capitalizing on key customer micro-moments across devices.”

<start self promotion> OK, so we’ll put our oar in here and say that if you’re a Ballina, Byron, Tweed, Gold Coast hinterland tourism operator who wants to get additional reach and channel “touchpoints”, then www.bigvolcano.com.au is a local web site established since 1997, and we’ve got a limited number of places available for local accommodation and tour operators, to give you the exposure you want.

On Mar 6th, we shared the continued battle between OTAs (Online Travel Agencies/Aggregators) and operators direct web sites, for the hearts and wallets of travellers with this optimistic article from Tnooz:  Consumers finding trust in hotels websites over other sources says study http://ow.ly/Z69fQ #travelbiz #reviews #bookings

On Mar 7th, this gem from Destination Queensland, with a post offering a wealth of useful information.; 2015 DestinationQ Forum, Townsville Thursday 8 – Friday 9 October 2015. http://ow.ly/Z8GgG #travelbiz #destinationmarketing #qld

And finally, from yesterday Mar 12th, the news that NSW and QLD tourism operators to showcase NSW and QLD in China http://ow.ly/ZjVGi #travelbiz #nsw #china  The Greater China Mission will be held in partnership with Destination NSW and Tourism and Events Queensland from 13 – 19 March 2016 in Xiamen and Beijing.

Knox Park Free Day Sunday 13th March

Looking for something to do in Murwillumbah tomorrow?

Then come along to Knox Park and join in Park Week activities for a celebration of great outdoors.

skateboarding_workshop_170448_640 Photo: Free skateboarding workshop for beginners at Knox Park as part of Parks Week 2016.

A skateboard workshop for beginners, yoga and story-telling will be among a number of free activities at Murwillumbah’s Knox Park tomorrow, Sunday 13 March, to celebrate Park Week 2016.

The inaugural Free Day in the Park will be held at the Nullum Street park from 10am to 12.30pm and will also include arts and crafts, drumming and a free barbecue for participants.

“Everyone’s invited to this community event to celebrate our great outdoors,” Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne said.  “We hope to see the park packed out with people having fun, trying out all the different activities, enjoying the park’s fantastic new facilities, and catching up with friends and locals.”

Council’s Director of Community and Natural Resources, Tracey Stinson, said there would be activities for people of all ages, to “celebrate the Tweed’s wonderful outdoor spaces”.

Free_Day_KnoxPark_170329_480 Photo: Storytelling with Annie Bryant

“Tweed residents are particularly passionate about our fantastic parks. That was evident in the feedback we received during community consultation for a new Open Space Strategy being created by Council,” Ms Stinson said.

Parks Week is jointly organised by Parks and Leisure Australia and the New Zealand Recreation Association, to promote the benefits provided by parks and open spaces.  Events are being held concurrently in Australia and New Zealand on that day to raise awareness on the value of parks and open spaces, and to get people to enjoy the outdoors.

The Knox Park celebrations will include a yoga class by Free 2 Be Yoga for all ages and abilities, stories and songs for children with entertainer Annie Bryant, and a beginners skating workshop at the new skate park with Ownlife.

The Coolheads youth service will host drumming groups, slackline activities, a barbecue and sumo suit wrestling. Arts and crafts will be coordinated by Possums Community Preschool.

Previous Parks Week activities in the Tweed included two other Council-supported events, the Tweed Enduro triathlon at Pottsville last Saturday (5 March) and the Relay for Life in Kingscliff today (Saturday) 12 March.

The Knox Park Program tomorrow includes:
 Yoga for all Ages (45-minute class) – 10am and 11am
 Skateboard workshop (1-hour class) – 10am and 11am
 Songs and Stories for Children (30 minutes) – 10am and 11am
 Drumming, slackline and sumo suit wrestling – 10am-12.30pm
 Art and Craft – 10am-12.30am
 Free barbecue for participants – From 11am

Courtesy Tweed Shire Council Newsroom

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See also: Big Volcano towns: Murwillumbah

Vietnam beach tourism director takes on tips from the Tweed

In February, council hosted a member of the Da Nang City People’s Committee in Vietnam to share some tips and information on how coastal resources are managed in the Tweed.

Nguyen Duc Vu, or ‘Vu’, is Vice Director of the Eco Tourism and Sea Board in Da Nang, which manages beach tourism in Son Tra, an urban district of Da Nang in the South Central Coast region of Vietnam.

“I was fortunate to be shown aspects of land management by skilled members of the Council for which I am very grateful,” Vu said.

VN_visit_Nguyen_Duc_d084804_640

Photo: Nguyen Duc Vu, Vice Director, Eco Tourism and Sea Board, Da Nang, and Jane Lofthouse, TSC Coordinator Natural Resource Management

While Vu is in Australia for one month to primarily study surf lifesaving and aquatic management, Council offered to show him aspects of land management that are relevant to his work in Vietnam.

Council’s Coordinator Natural Resource Management, Jane Lofthouse, visited various locations along the Tweed Coast with Vu, sharing coastal management tips used here in the Tweed.  “We looked at issues related to coastal erosion and recreational access management,” Ms Lofthouse said.

Da Nang coastal community faces similar issues to Council

“There are definitely similarities between Da Nang and the Tweed; one thing they have in common is the increasing pressure from tourism to the beautiful coastal areas.”

Vu said the time spent with Council learning about coastal management would be valuable to take back to Da Nang.  “I found the paperbark tree and its importance to your wetland areas very interesting,” he said.

“The Tweed Shire is a very beautiful area and you face the same challenges we do in Vietnam, to promote economic development while protecting the environment for all citizens.

“I have learned a great deal of information about lifesaving as well and I really appreciate the assistance given to me to enable me to travel to Australia on this study tour,” he said.  “You have a wonderful country.”

Courtesy: Tweed Shire Council Newsroom 

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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Guide: Government Services: LGAs, State and Federal reps,  and Environmental and research organisations in the Northern Rivers, NSW and Gold Coast region of QLD, Australia.