Bourgeoisie take-over: Concerns held over future of village
IT'S the ideal picturesque small country town, but there are concerns the unique and highly-coveted nature of Bellingen is proving a double-edged sword as wealthier people buy out the properties.
Bellingen Shire Council is preparing a new growth management strategy for the village as figures reveal a trend which could see Bellingen "at risk of losing its valued diversity”.
According to the council, between 2011-2016 the population only grew by 151 people and just 133 new houses were built.
The council said this lack of growth is seeing the wealthy buying and renting most of the available housing, while many low-middle income earners are forced to leave the village for more affordable housing.
The council is also concerned the burden of rising costs around the maintenance of infrastructure will be placed on a small population, meaning residents may need to pay more for infrastructure into the future if the population does not grow, or go without.
Positives, however, include reduced development pressure on the natural environment, with less impact from potential land clearing, loss of farmland and overloading of infrastructure.
The council also notes a larger population could benefit local businesses, provide more housing choice, and be a catalyst for new or improved infrastructure.
A rather complex matter, the community is being urged to share their thoughts for the future of Bellingen to help the council updates its growth management strategy.
To get involved click here.