The Bangalow Progress Association relaunches as the Bangalow Community Association and aims to increase community engagement in 2479, writes Ian Holmes.

We are pleased to announce a significant association name change, with the registration of the Bangalow Community Association now confirmed, replacing the Bangalow Progress Association. Originally incorporated in 1999, the rationale for this change was the growing realisation that we are fundamentally a community-based organisation. All six of the original BPA Objectives referred to ‘community’, with just a single mention of the word ‘progress’. Our primary aim is to facilitate community engagement regarding the development and management of our local 2479 area.

Our focus is to respect the special characteristics of Bangalow to encourage progress that is sensible and sustainable, and which provides long-term benefit to the community. BCA works to preserve, protect, and monitor the development of Bangalow for the common good of the community.

Bangalow formed a Guidance Group in 2015 and subsequently completed the Bangalow Village Plan, an aspirational document that includes a broad range of potential projects for implementation throughout the central area of Bangalow. We now have three community representatives on the Byron Shire Place Planning Collective, tasked with prioritising specific projects from the BVP for short-term implementation. Broad community engagement involves Community

Working Groups with key stakeholders involved in all projects. This engagement framework is fully described in the Byron Shire Community Engagement Strategy – required reading for all proactive BCA members developing projects for community benefit.

Optimal outcomes are achieved from a collaboration of long-term villagers, creative workers and entrepreneurial business owners. The former group can provide deep historical knowledge while the latter brings an impressive range of business skills, a potent combination that guides better development and project outcomes. This open, inclusive approach is the antithesis of polarised communities and self-interest.

There is increasing recognition that the community can make an essential contribution to decisions affecting social amenity, rather than simply allowing powerful government and commercial forces to dominate. Federal Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers recently expressed this view in an article in The Monthly. He explains how to build a more inclusive and resilient economy, “by strengthening our institutions and our capacity, with a focus on the intersection of prosperity and wellbeing, on place and community, on collaboration and co-operation.”

Bangalow is clearly on the radar of powerful city-centric business interests that often have little empathy for regional community wellbeing. This was clearly demonstrated by the recent Bowlo experience. This takeover serves as a community wake-up call, as there are currently three commercial sites in Station Street, Bangalow, with development applications imminent. The most significant of these is a site at 6-10 Station St in the Bangalow Triangle, now with a DA lodged awaiting data, however the DA title invokes immediate unease by specifying hotel/motel accommodation on three levels with two levels of basement parking.

Bangalow needs to take community engagement to a new level to meet these challenges. The newly appointed BCA urgently needs a more diverse membership base to engage on these big issues adequately. If you’re passionate about Bangalow and want to help protect its unique character, please consider becoming a member by sending an email to

Find out more on Facebook @BangalowCommunityAssociation