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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

Mayor defends Ewingsdale facility

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Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson has defended recent criticism of the shire’s perennially underutilised Byron Region Sport and Cultural Complex (BRSCC) at Ewingsdale.

As Echonetdaily revealed yesterday, the facility lost $300,173 last year and is critically underutilised.

A report, to be tabled at tomorrow’s Byron Shire Council meeting, says that ‘for every $4 of expenditure to operate facilities, only $1 in revenue is raised’.

But Byron Shire mayor Simon Richardson told Echonetdaily yesterday that the figure was ‘the worst we will get’.

Mayor Richardson said, ‘currently we “lose” more than $1 million a year with our libraries – not all services will ever be profitable’.

But he added, ‘we are about to have the AFL move in; we are hosting far more festivals and events and other sporting teams are close to getting on board. The commercial kitchen is just one of a few ways we can minimise costs.’

Byron Shire Council will vote tomorrow on whether to abandon searching for an external manager and permanently taking management of the BRSCC in house.

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  1. Please don’t dare throw libraries into this equation…. especially comparing to a sports facility – it’s like comparing apples to oranges! There is no reason for a sports facility in the right place, built for the right reasons and deemed essential to the local community to not be profitable if managed effectively. The Shire already has multiple sports areas that have been operating for years and why you needed to built another one of this magnitude is beyond me. Yes, we don’t charge people to enter and use a public library but the community does benefit in many ways from the uses and knowledge people gain from having such a great public facility.

  2. If the Byron Shire Council does take over the management of the BRSCC, perhaps they could think outside the square a little.
    I heard a suggestion that may work. Many young travellers come to Byron, and some with limited funds tend to rent vans and sleep in inappropriate places. What if the parking at the BRSCC was say $10per person per night, including toilets, showers and garbage collection. The state of the art kitchen could provide a tasty menu, pushbikes could be rented, and possibly a free or cheap transfer bus to town if needed.
    The centre would have a captive audience for films or entertainment, and some might even watch the sports. It could even create jobs.

  3. Or you could do what Ballina council just did. Move the Byron market and the Byron Farmers Market there. After a community consultation that recommended to leave the market at Lake Ainsworth and a petition with more than 750 signatures in favor of it’s current location council moved the market to their white elephant the new community center. Now with the stall fees going through the centers books it will not look as bad for council. Well done Ballina Council!!!!! One of the things Lennox market had going for it was the marvelous location. Market will take a big hit because of this decision.


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