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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Byron united for new year

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[author]Hans Lovejoy[/author]

It’s hands across the waters as Byron Shire Council and Byron United (as the area’s Chamber of Commerce calls itself) look towards a joint New Year’s Eve celebration in the town.

Byron United’s proposal was given the go-ahead at Council’s meeting on Thursday, and is set to include fireworks, a live band, Indigenous dances and laser shows.

Both parties say they have agreed to work together.

President Paul Waters told Echonetdaily that for the last two years the night was run by Council alone, without input from the business community.

‘We are delighted that we are working together with Council,’ he said.

New Year’s celebrations in Byron Bay were clamped down after the town became known as a ‘party town’; however, Mr Waters says he does not want to return to the town’s past reputation.

‘We are not trying to attract a bigger crowd, but are merely providing appropriate celebration for local residents and holiday visitors alike. In fact, one of our suggestions that has been accepted is to reduce street closures to help alleviate traffic and parking issues on one of the busiest periods of the year. So we are only closing Jonson Street this year and not Fletcher or Middleton Streets.’

Cr Ross Tucker said at Council’s meeting, ‘Full marks to the [Council] staff for being involved. It’s negative to worry it may go back to the old times.

‘New Year’s celebrations are common around the country.’

An opposing view was expressed by Cr Tom Tabart.

‘I have a problem with the mechanism that would see it expand over the next few years. It could move us back to where we were before.’

Funding is still needed, however, to help make the night a success, says Mr Waters.

‘We are going to try to raise funds from prominent businesses to cover the costs that Council can’t cover. We believe for such an important night we will be successful in passing the hat around to help show our residents and visitors that we care enough to turn on a memorable night and show Byron Bay in a good light.’

Those wanting to help with the chamber’s expenses can call Byron United on 6680 8853.

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