Kumar Rajaratnam, Byron Bay
It’s great to see our northern neighbours embrace the value of sporting tourism dollars (Tweed sport complex ‘a huge boost’), similar to the successful ventures on the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere.
It’s a shame we cannot see the new council in Byron use their newly given mandate to tap into developing and fixing the sporting facilities in the new Byron Bay Sports and Cultural Centre and developing sporting tourism.
It is confusing why we are not working to bring in sporting tourism dollars that are worth an average multiple of five compared to the current tourist spend.
We all know the three out of four cars along Ewingsdale Road on the weekend that are Queensland plated, fuelled, and carrying their own lunch and spending little money in Byron.
Our infrastructure is pushed to the brink and borne by ratepayers. We have a wonderful brand (albeit being continually tarnished each weekend with alcohol-fuelled episodes and driving family-oriented and high-net-worth spenders away) and we have a massive capital investment that we are not using to turn it around.
If a town in any other part of the world had the assets and the brand that Byron Bay has, an astute council would be tapping into it with sustainable tourism such as sports tourism.
The Byron Bay Cycle Club has over $100,000 ready to contribute to completing a partly done track at the sports centre and the council is not coming to the party to complete it. Despite the fact that the $100,000 will have to be returned in August 2013 if it is not spent.
It is easier to say we don’t have money to spend on something that was a disaster in its management under the previous council or ‘I never supported it when I was in the previous council’.
However, the mandate given to a new-term council is to fix the difficult issues and turn things around. Saying no to everything is easy when there is no money around.
You don’t need to be intelligent to represent that view. Making a decision based on wisdom is taking the courage to turn things around and investing and supporting the sustainable capital that brand Byron offers.
Even if it means upsetting some of the current beneficiaries that are tapping into the current brand Byron. We all know who they are.