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Byron Shire
June 7, 2023

BU takes a beating over NYE

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It’s been a tough few weeks for Byron United’s (BU) president Paul Waters, with letters to the editor critical of his response to New Years Eve celebrations in Byron Bay.

In an effort to clarify his position he responded by telling Echonetdaily his not-for-profit organisation was ‘shocked as anyone else about some reports’.

‘The comments I made regarding the night were mine,’ he said, and were ‘not made on behalf of Byron United or Byron Bay Liquor Accord.’

Furthermore he said the comments were based on his own experience in the CBD and the police report advising that ‘NYE was without major concern’.

‘At the time, I was not aware of illegal camping and abuse of locals, private property or public amenities etc.

‘Rest assured, neither myself nor Byron United advocate antisocial behaviour, violence, illegal camping or littering at anytime, anywhere.

‘In fact we spend thousands of dollars and volunteer man-hours keeping the town clean.

‘We are now even more resolved to work closely with Council, community groups, police and other stakeholders to make sure we learn and succeed,’ he said.

He added, ‘BU funded the NYE fireworks and carols with the aim of supporting a safe, family-friendly celebration’.

‘We didn’t promote the event inside or outside the shire and had no way of anticipating any antisocial behaviour.’

Disclosure: Echo Publications, the publisher of Echonetdaily, sponsored the New Years Eve fireworks and is also sponsoring a forum on Saturday regarding issues surrounding antisocial behaviour and excessive drinking in Byron Bay.

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  1. Paul Waters was very happy to go on national TV and tell people they should leave BB if they didn’t agree with him. This is inexcusable in any circumstances. You don’t attack your neighbours and tell them to move out of Byron Bay if they don’t agree with you. Byron United need to do more to listen rather than tell people what they should support. Let’s have early closing of bars, clubs and bars and then we will not have this problem and we can stop talking about it.

  2. As a former employee of and longtime contributor to the Echo I am disgusted as to the make up of the forum that the Echo is sponsoring. The Echo seems to be hitting new lows in appeasing advertisers. To have Tom Mooney and his mates at Byron United dominating that panel makes it very much like Hazzards CSG farce of a panel present at the public meeting in Lismore. Bloody shame. What exactly do we expect from such a lop sided panel. Good ideas that will benefit the public at large? Hardly.


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