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Byron Shire
February 29, 2024

Arts end of town

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I like the idea of using vacant shops to house artists and craftspeople, to display their works and maybe entice a few more tourists to the town of Murwillumbah and spend a few dollars at the same time.

I also sympathise with some of the struggling business owners in town and I try to shop locally on most occasions.

What I find ironic is the Murwillumbah Chamber of Commerce is now putting out a call for help to the arts community generally to make this proposal work.

Many artists in our midst are the very same people this chamber labelled with derogatory vile names during the very ugly fight to defeat the Rally through the Rainforests, that forgot to ask the community if it was even vaguely what they wanted for this sensitive region.

Now all of a sudden the chamber wants us on board to help save them and breathe life into the town.

I for one am glad to see the arse end of the ill-conceived Rally, but I object to being blamed also for the demise of Speed on Tweed, which I think was a tremendous attraction for Murwillumbah and is sorely missed.

People have long memories and the abuse that No Rally Group members endured will take a while to forget.

I want to see this town prosper as much as anyone else and applaud appropriate ideas that may see that eventuate, but I think that the Tweed Council’s management over the past five years has been woefully inadequate.

Here we are situated 100km south of the now hugely populated city of Bris Vegas and we get but a trickle of visitors.

A few art exhibitions and displays won’t save the town. They will help but it must be remembered the majority of the general public couldn’t give a rat’s arse about art. Just ask any struggling artisan.

Surely it’s obvious that to tempt some day-trippers down over the border to drive around the Caldera or visit the villages etc the bloody roads have to be a lot better than they are at present.

As you come over the border at Tomewin and down Queensland Road into the valley, there isn’t even a place to stop and view the majestic valley: Council closed the lookout.

If you want people to come you have to tempt them.

For god’s sake if thousands are willing to trudge out to Parkes for an Elvis Festival, maybe it’s time to think outside the square.

All the while, Council is throwing millions into the sea in the hope of looking like they are doing something and at the same time some council bureaucrats are gorging themselves in a last supper re-run.

I would be all for some of my rates to go towards a think tank on Murwillumbah’s future path.

Paul Taylor

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