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Byron Shire
March 9, 2021

Alcohol town’s biggest problem, Byron meeting hears

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Community panel (L to R) Paul Spooner, Shirley Nelson and Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson.
Community panel (L to R) Paul Spooner, Shirley Nelson and Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson.

Story & photo Eve Jeffery

The Byron Bay Community Centre theatre was literally packed to the rafters last night as hundreds gathered in the hopes of finding a path to a solution to the many issues surrounding the town.

There was no argument that the main cause of trouble is the consumption of alcohol, and many ideas, including a midnight lock-out to more community based transport, were suggested to the panel of six community members as a solution to the problem.

The three main focus areas of the evening were to decide what sort of community people would like to live in; the possibility of creating an organisation to tackle local issues; and if such a body were to be created, how would it operate.

Most of the meeting was taken up by people expressing their dismay at the atmosphere of the town and it was decided that some form of committee and sub-committees need to be formed to approach the problem, though time constraints left little scope for that process to begin.

There will be another meeting at the same day and time at the venue in two weeks to look more closely at the formation of an official body of people to work at different levels in turning the town into the vision of its people.

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  1. If new community structures are going to be put in place, the first critical question is: who will control the decision making process that leads to any new structure? Who decides on who is on the current and future “community forum” panels? Where is our voice in selecting those who will be critical in laying this foundation.

  2. Attended both community meetings so far, lots of passion, lots of good ideas and a clear willingness by many to give their time and effort to a range of possible future actions. Great to see the police present, high school captains and hospital staff all updating the community on their specific issues and or concerns. Unfortunately the meeting again finished with yet another planned meeting for two weeks into the future. Unless someone or some group takes a leadership role I think many people we simply stop turning up to yet another talkfest. Hopefully leadership will appear and harness the goodwill offered by so many.


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