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$11,000 from Community Engine this week

$11,132 to Northern Rivers Groups

This week Community Engine will hand out $11,132 to Northern Rivers not-for-profit groups. This marks the end of the first round of their $100,000 “Community Giveaway”.

Every shire in the Northern Rivers is represented by the 107 recipients, which range from the Parental Alienation Awareness Organisation in Uki receiving $51 to the Byron Community Centre receiving $830.

“This is just the start” said Community Engine’s Dean Power. “There is close to $90,000 left to give and any group can raise up to $5,000”. is a website which makes business, communication and networking easy for small business and community groups. “It’s also a tool for just about anybody to stay in touch with the people, groups and products that matter to them” says Power.

Following the successful pilot program for Community Engine in our region, they are taking their community building tool nationally. To say thanks and to help launch the website nationally they are giving $100,000 to local not-for-profit groups.

“Any new followers of organisations on the engine attract $1 each” said Dean Power. “If you’re a not-for-profit group you keep the money and if you’re a business you get to donate it to your favourite group”.

“We are so excited to be onboard raising money” said the Byron Community Centre’s Amanda Gorr. “It’s a fantastic initiative by Community Engine. Please everybody help us help our community by going to Community Engine and following the Byron Community Centre”.

Not-for-profit groups receiving money in the first round of donations include:

Byron Community Centre                                     $830

Help Mountain Girls Reach Their Summit            $754

Byron Youth Service                                                $720

Travelteering                                                            $457

Rainforest Rescue                                                $425

Positive Change for Marine Life                        $366

Byron Breast Cancer Support Group                        $346

Northern Rivers Tourism                                    $305

Academy of Root Development Australia            $244

Byron Visitor Centre                                                $225

Byron Bay Youth House                                    $222

Companion Animals Welfare Incorporated            $206

WIRES Northern Rivers                                    $201

To find out more go to

call 1300 266686, email

or drop into Community Engine at Shop 1, Byron Street Byron Bay (next to Aldi).

Downloadable high resolution images:

Photo #1 – Byron Community Centre celebrates
Photo #2 – Brunswick Soccer Club raising money through Community Engine
Photo #3 – A WIRES carer from Billinudgel with a young possum she rescued.
Photo #4 – Team Community Engine, Byron Bay

Home ownership workshop brings hope

“Very informative” was how Zack Zytnik described the “Great Australian Dream” New Home Ownership workshop held last Saturday at Ewingsdale Hall. Zack and his partner Sarah Daniels attended the free workshop to hear about new government incentives for home ownership and what local opportunities may exist.

“I own a place at Bangalow and I’m thinking about buying again” said Mr Zytnik.

Bec Brown lives in Coorabell and “would like to have the chance to invest in the community”. “My family has been living here for 13 years, I went to uni here, I love the region and feel passionate about it” she said. Bec was impressed with the house and land packages currently available in Mullumbimby at Tallowood Ridge. “I find the heritage aspect very appealing and I’m interested in the possibility that they can build at that price. I thought the workshop was fascinating”.

Organised by local real estate dynamo Rose Wanchap, “The Great Australian Dream” brought together experts in the fields of finance, law, building and development. Michael Murray from Byron Property Search spoke of accessing finance, Gisele Wagner from Northern Rivers Lawyers addressed the $15,000 first new home owners grant and other incentives, builder Terry Builton and Eric Freeman (one of the collective of owners at Tallowood Ridge) discussed some of the house and land packages available and the benefits of new granny flat laws.

“We showed the group an example of purchasing land and building a house on it, in this case the Coolamon 95 two bedroom home” said Rose Wanchap. “Once the new incentives were factored in, if people could come up with a deposit of approximately $20,000 they would be looking at repayments of around $320 a week to own a brand new two bedroom home on a 493m² block, with room to add a granny flat later on. That’s interest only, and if their loan was principal plus interest they’d be looking at repayments of around $360 a week. For many people this means they’re better off owning”.

For those wishing to purchase a new house and land package or build a new home:

• The new first new home owners grant of $15,000 becomes available October 1 2012. This will be available until January 1 2014, after which it will be reduced to $10,000.

• There is a $5,000 new home owners’ grant available now if it’s not your first home.

• Rose Wanchap is willing to give her commission to the purchaser to put toward the cost of their home for people buying at Tallowood Ridge who would otherwise be unable to afford a home.

• New granny flat laws, which commenced last year, make purchasing land more sensible as there exists the opportunity to create two income streams from one block.

• Deposits of 5% are acceptable at Tallowood Ridge given a serviceable income.

For more information /

Downloadable high res images:
Photo #1 – Bec Brown with Rose Wanchap
Photo #2 – Zak Zytnik and Sarah Daniels

Tim Olsen and Angus McDonald inspire

Celebrated local artist Angus McDonald shone at a dinner in his honour held at The Byron at Byron Resort on Thursday 9th August. Angus joined his dealer Tim Olsen of Sydney’s Tim Olsen Gallery to discuss the art world he inhabits and what it means to him.

Local art identity Emma Walker (who also exhibits with Tim Olsen) was amongst the guests, as was ArtsCape’s Merran Morrison and Nadine Abensur of Mullumbimby’s Art Piece Gallery.

McDonald discussed how art intimidates Australians, how we have somehow been made to feel that art is elitist. “In Italy people have four loves” he said. “Art, sex, food and football. Whereas here people are made to feel like they have to love either art or football, it’s one or the other”.

Tim Olsen discussed growing up in the art world amongst people such as Brett Whitely and Robert Hughes. “I was conceived at the National Art School, I ended up studying there and now I’m on the Board” he said.

The walls of The Byron at Byron were hung with paintings from Angus’s own collection as well as three showstopping canvases that will form part of his upcoming exhibition Elysium at the Tim Olsen Gallery, which opens on September 5 and runs until September 23.

The next event at The Byron at Byron will be the Vogue Living Champagne Dinner on October 26, where renowned Chef Justin North will create four courses to match five of the world’s finest Champagnes.

Art is such a wonderful world to inhabit.  Angus McDonald

A great painting never goes out of date.  Tim Olsen

New home for Lennox Fireys

Henderson Farm gives Lennox Fireys new home

Following a five year search for a suitable new home for the Lennox Head Fire Brigade, the owners at Lennox Head’s Henderson Farm have offered to donate land for the cause.

“I can’t believe this happening for us, they’re awesome” said Brigade Captain Ray Wilston. “There is something really special when somebody in the community can see a need, they are aware of our plight. I can’t tell you how grateful we are that they have thought of us in this way”.

The Brigade’s move across the road in Park Lane to make way for the new Community and Cultural Centre was only ever temporary. “Council was going to put us in Ross Lane as a permanent site, but that was never going to work” said Wilton. “There were a lot of factors working against that site, including its distance from the village, security risks, the fact that it was on a dangerous ‘s’ bend and potential flooding”.

Henderson Farm, which is being rezoned for residential development, was purchased by Ballina Council from local figure Ted Henderson. Council then sold the 185 acre farm to Lennox Developments Pty Ltd in 2002. The land, which has been set aside for residential development in the Lennox Head Structure Plan for decades, contains a 2100 square metre tract which abuts the Coast Road on the western side, between Byron Street and Greenfield Road. It is this tract which has recently been offered to the Lennox Head Fire Brigade.

“We knew of their need for land and thought we owned a site that could potentially be perfect, subject to Council’s approval” said Terry Martin, General Manager of Lennox Developments. “The Fire Brigade does an incredible job, they are integral to the town. They were the first there when the tornado struck, they are always there”.

Following the rezoning process a DA will be put forward for the Fire Brigade relocation. “We know this won’t happen overnight, but we hope to be settled in and operating from our permanent home within two years” said Ray Wilton. “Oh behalf of my Brigade we’re really grateful to the people who are donating the land and to the NSW Rural Fire Service. And Ballina Council have picked up the spirit of what we are trying to achieve and have been really solid gold”.

To volunteer for the Lennox Fire Brigade call Ray on 6686 1906. Women and men who are sixteen years or older, have a community spirit and love Lennox are encouraged to consider volunteering.