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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Byron Council’s own goal?

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Since the soccer season stared about three weeks ago there have been more than 30 games (conservative estimate) played on the two available soccer pitches at the ‘Rec Grounds’ in the middle of Byron Bay.

I believe that the new Byron Sports & Recreational Complex on Ewingsdale Road cost in the vicinity of $17 million to build and approximately $0.5 million per year to maintain and service the debt – and yet they still haven’t held one game. The grounds were completely unplayable last weekend (12–13 May), and will be for another week or two I believe. And that after quite an extended dry period for this time of year.

To start the conversation I would love answers to five questions (from a long list):

  1. Who gave the go-ahead for this project and after what level of site/project investigation?
  2. Who is now accountable for this huge financial burden and at what cost to the community?
  3. Who was responsible (and therefore accountable) for starting the construction of a new sports facility without signing up the end users? I mean seriously!
  4. What do we (the community) do with it if it’s unplayable as a sports facility?
  5. Why didn’t they finish the new Ewingsdale cycle track in front of the quarry and link it with the arts and industrial precinct track with a safe crossover whilst they were doing all that roadwork?

It appears to be such a serious waste of money and resources that the community should be given a completely honest explanation (sans bullshit politics and job protection) and those responsible be held accountable.

Further, should we now trust the council with the purchase and preparation of sports fields for the north of the shire after such a debacle?

John McKay, Byron Bay

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  1. Totally agree with you, John. Maybe Council should just turn it into a Backpackers-In-Vans facility, where they can park and stay at a cost. Run a shuttle bus in and out of town, at cost as well. Employ a few locals at the same time – manager, cleaners, bus driver. Get some profit that way, and fix your seemingly relentless issue of backpackers sleeping in vans on the streets.

  2. Hate to be the one to say it, but remember Hurricane Katrina? Locking large numbers of undesirable people into a facility for many days without supplies and leaving them to their own devices during a man-made or natural disaster is the way of the future, and frees up valuable real-estate for those who already have everything money can buy. We may also think of this as ‘economic stimulus’ where school halls and other such places now exist, even though the money could easily have been spent on other things more worth-while.


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